The Oaks 2018

AB5D095B-F24E-460A-8120-23A1113233F3.jpegBy Samantha

The Oaks has lost its star quality this year because of the absence of Magical and Lah Ti Dar, who was long time favourite for the race, from the field. There is no stand out filly this time like there was two years ago when, 1000 Guineas winner, Minding bolted up. Realistically, every single horse could win the race this year. It is likely that the winner will come from Aidan O’Brien’s yard as he has five of the nine runners.

Based on jockey bookings, it seems that Magic Wand is the best of the Irishman’s string. She broke her maiden last time out at Chester in the Cheshire Oaks over one mile three and was going away from the field on that occasion so she will stay the trip. Forever Together finished second in that race and ran into lots of trouble in running. She has to be checked a few times but when she got open space, she absolutely flew. She is still a maiden but the extra distance will help her.

Seamie Heffernan rides I Can Fly, who was unplaced last time out in the Guineas. She is yet to run in a race over a mile. Her dam ran six times over a mile but didn’t win any of them and she is by Fastnet Rock, a sprinter. She is most likely in this as the pace maker but you never know with Aidan’s horses. Flattering could also be a pace angle. Now that the rain is coming up soft, this filly’s chances will improve a great deal. Her only win has come on soft ground and she won it by ten lengths. Last time out, she was third on good to firm ground behind Perfect Clarity in the Oaks Trial at Lingfield. It didn’t help her, when push came to shove, that Ryan Moore dropped his whip. She didn’t seem to enjoy the going and will much prefer this.

Bye Bye Baby has won three of her eight starts. She is a listed and group three winner in Ireland and the Goup Three win fame on soft ground so she has a good chance based in that.

Perfect Clarity won the Oaks Trail at Lingfield and is the only unbeaten runner in the field. She won her maiden and then bolted up at Lingfield. She showed a good change of gear at the two furlong marker and ran on well so the trip shouldn’t be an issue.

Give And Take handled a massive step up in grade when landing the Musidora at York. The trip is an unknown but she saw out the one mile two trip well and will continue to improve from that. Ejtyah was third in that race but was left one-paced in the final furlong. That race will have set her up nicely for the rest of the season. It is unknown whether she will stay the longer trip as she is by Frankel and out of a mare who ran three times and won none of them.

Wild Illusion completes the field for William Buick and Charlie Appleby. She has won on soft ground and, last time out, she was fourth in the 1000 Guineas. This is a big step up in trip for her but Buick said in an interview with the Racing Post, “She’s very stoutly bred on the dam’s side and being by Dubawi, she has a great pedigree. You’d like to think the distance won’t inconvenience her- she seems straight forward and ticks a lot of boxes.”

Samantha’s Selections
To Win- Forever Together (stayed on well last time out. Would’ve been a lot closer if she hadn’t been checked a few times.)

Each Way- Flattering (Won a soft ground maiden by ten lengths so won’t mind the cut in the ground. She’s at a brilliant price!)

The History Of The Derby


By Samantha Martin (@sam_angelina22) (Updated 1/7/20)

The Derby is the ‘blue ribbon’ race in the whole horse racing calendar. It is the richest horse race ran in Britain and every jockey, trainer, owner and breeder wants to win it. It is officially known as the Investec Derby and the race has been sponsored by Investec since 2009. The Group One race is staged at Epsom racecourse, which is a left-handed track, over one and a half miles. Colts and fillies aged three are eligible to run and fillies have a 3lbs gender allowance. The race is the middle leg of the English Triple Crown- preceded by the 2000 Guineas and followed by the St Leger.

The Derby was created at a celebration of the success of the first running of the Oaks in 1779. It was decided that the race should be named after either the host of the party, the 12th Earl Of Derby, or one of his guests, Sir Charles Bunbury. It is believed that the decision was made by the toss of a coin, which the Earl of Derby won. Sir Charles Bunbury later had a race named after him at Newmarket (The Bunbury Cup).

The first running of the Derby was on Thursday 4th May 1780 and it was won by Diomed, a colt owned by Sir Charles Bunbury. The horse was a successful sire in the USA and was much loved. He died aged 31 in 1808. He is thought to be one of the most important stallions introduced into early American bloodstock. That race and the next three renewals were ran over a mile but the distance was changed to today’s trip of one mile four furlongs in 1784. The starting point of the race has been adjusted twice since then and in the early 1990s, it was discovered that the actual distance of the race was one mile four furlongs and ten yards.

Up until 1838, the race was ran on a Thursday in late May or early June depending on when Easter occurred that year. The day was then changed to a Wednesday in order to fit in with the railway timetables and it was ran on that day until 1995. During the world wars, in between 1915 and 1918 and 1940 and 1945, the Derby was ran at Newmarket as Epsom was used for military operations during those years. In 1967, the way the race was run changed as starting stalls were used for the first time.

In 1996, Alex Greaves became the first female jockey to ride in the Derby. She finished last of the twenty runners riding a filly called Portuguese Lil. Sixteen years later, Hayley Turner became the second female jockey to have a ride in the race. She also came last. In 2017, Aidan O’Brien’s daughter Ana partnered The Anvil in the Derby and was the first female to beat another competitor home. The Anvil and Ana finished seventeenth out of the eighteen runners. Females don’t have a brilliant record in the race and only six fillies have managed to win the Epsom showpiece (Eleanor (1801), Blink Bonny (1857), Shotover (1882), Signorinetta(1908, (who is part of my Wonder Mares Series, which you can read here),  Tagalie (1912) and most recently Fifinella (1916)). Nowadays, fillies are usually kept with their own gender and run in the Oaks instead. The most recent filly in to run in the race was Cape Verdi in 1998. She went off as favourite but could only manage ninth.


One of the most famous winners of the Derby is Shergar. He was partnered to victory by nineteen year old Walter Swinburn and bolted up by ten lengths. After the horse’s victory, he was mysteriously kidnapped without a trace and it is believed that the crime was committed by the IRA. No one knows what happened to him.


Leading Jockey

Lester Piggot- Never Say Die (1954), Crepello (1957), St. Paddy (1960), Sir Ivor (1968), Nijinsky (1970), Roberto (1972), Empery (1976), The Minstrel (1977), Teenoso (1983)

Leading Trainers

Robert Robson- Waxy (1793), Tyrant (1802), Pope (1809), Whalebone (1810), Whisker (1815), Azor (1817), Emilius (1823)

John Porter- Blue Gown (1868), Shotover (1882), St. Blaise (1883), Ormonde (1886), Sainfoin (1890), Common (1891), Flying Fox (1899)

Fred Darling- Captain Cuttle (1922), Manna (1925), Coronach (1926), Cameronian (1931), Bois Roussel (1938), Pont l’Eveque (1940), Owen Tudor (1941)

Aidan O’Brien- Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002), Camelot (2012), Ruler Of The Word (2013), Australia (2014), Wings Of Eagles (2017), Anthony Van Dyck (2019)

Leading Owner

Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor- Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002), Pour Moi (2011), Camelot (2012), Ruler Of The World (2013), Australia (2014), Wings of Eagles (2017), Anthony Van Dyck (2019)

Fastest Winning Time- 2m 31.33s by Workforce (2010)

Most runners 34 (1862)

Fewest Runners- 4 (1794)

Longest Odds Winner- Jeddah (1898), Signorietta(1908) and Aboyeur (1913) at 100/1

Shortest Odds Winner- Ladas at 2/9 (1894)

Widest Winning Margin- ten lengths by Shergar (1981)



Something For Everyone

Battaash winning the King George Stakes


By Samantha (25/5/18)

For flat racing fans, this Saturday will be a good one. Whether you’re a fan of long distance races or fast, five furlong sprints, it’s safe to say there is something for everyone at Haydock this Saturday. Battaash, one of the best sprinters from last season, will grace the Haydock turf in the Group Two Temple Stakes.

First up, is a race for the horses with lots of stamina. The Amix Ready Mixed Concrete Handicap will be ran over two miles and all bar one of the runners, The Grand Visir, have won over this trip. The Frankel colt is yet to run over the trip and connections must be hoping that the increase in distance will ebb out some improvement in the four year old. Mancini looks the pick of the horses and won over two miles after making all on the turf course at Lingfield, two weeks ago. This is a tougher race but he seems like he will improve for the step up in class.

The Amix Silver Bowl Handicap has attracted a big field with some progressive young horses in it. Strange Society and Ajundant are making their handicap debuts. The latter has won two of his three starts and both of those have come since he moved to Brian Meehan’s yard. He has to deal with a huge step up in class. Ventura Knight is a very experienced three year old like many of Mark Johnston’s tend to be and he won a Class Three handicap last time out well so should handle the move to a higher grade. Completion is an interesting runner. He was second in his only start over a mile but is yet to be out of the top three. His jockey-trainer combination is very successful. Qaysar looks an improving sort and has won over seven furlongs in this grade so he is shouldn’t have a problem with the extra furlong. Finniston Farm ran on to finish second to Anna Nerium in a Listed race over seven furlongs. He ran in the Dee Stakes over a mile two and finished fifth so he will likely be able to stay this trip.

Sands Of Mali


The Sandy Lane Stakes has been won by some very good horses including Quiet Reflection and Harry Angel last year. This year, it has attracted some very classy horses. Sands Of Mali is the highest-rated and that is understandable as he won the Group Two Gimcrack over this trip and brings some very good form into this. Invincible Army was second in that and has since won two Group Threes and was second behind James Garfield in the Mill Reef. Since then, James Garfield has been running over further and was successful in the Greenham. Last time out, he was seventh in the 2000 Guineas and drops back to his most successful trip in this. There are two fillies running in the shape of Aidan O’Brien’s Actress and last year’s winning trainer Clive Cox’s Heartache. The former is a Group Three winner over this trip and she was last seen found one paced behind Mrs Gallagher in the Polonia Stakes. Heartache has a one hundred percent strike in the UK. She is a dual Group Two winner over five furlongs and makes a step up to this trip. Her weight allowance gives her a chance in this.

The Temple Stakes is the other Group Two. Battaash, who was a brilliant three year old, makes his seasonal debut in this. He became a different horse it seemed after being gelded before he ran as a three year old. Last season he was only beaten once in his five starts and he won the Group One Abbaye at Chantilly in October so realistically, he should be able to win this. Mabs Cross seems the value in this race. She has been in great form recently and ran a great race in winning the Palace House at Newmarket, beating Grey Britain, at the start of May. She was beaten a neck in a Listed race by Mrs Gallagher, who has been a great servant for William Jarvis. That filly went over to the Curragh and bolted up in a Fillies’ Listed race so she deserves the opportunity to step up into this grade. Some old favourites, Doctor Sardonicus, Muthmir and Take Cover are set to run but it looks as though it will go the way of a younger horse.

It is then the turn of the fillies to scorch the turf in the British Stallion Studs Cecil Frail Fillies’ Listed Race, where some ever important Black Type is on offer. Classic Times and All Out both were second in listed company last time out. Worship is held in high regard by connections and won on debut but disliked the step up in trip to a mile in the 1000 Guineas last time out and is now back at a more preferable trip. Aidan O’Brien sends over different League. She won over six furlongs on debut in the Group Three Albany Stakes and is back at that trip. Rock On Baileys was successful on the All Weather over the winter but is only rated 52 so looks out of it.

The sixth race on the card is the Armstrongs Brinscall Quarry Supplying Sagrada Familia Handicap. It is a Class Four sprint and doesn’t seem an extremely special race. There are two last time out winners in the line up, Maid In India and Athollblair Boy. Maid In India is quite a consistent filly. She has won three of her five starts. One of her defeats came in this class by one and a quarter lengths. She came fifth in class three company on her penultimate start and won well last time out over the minimum trip. She has a big weight but looks progressive. Athollblair Boy is just one from twenty on turf so that is a negative. Lexington Times returned to form by coming second last time out and Short Work and Muscika are back to feasible winning margins.

The penultimate race on the card is the Amix Handicap ran over one mile three furlongs. Deyaarna is likely favourite for this race. The colt, who is owned by Godolphin, won his maiden at this third attempt and then followed it up with a nice win on the artificial surface at Wolverhampton in October. He hasn’t been seen since then so doesnt have the race fitness of Aiya. He disappointed last time out but the heavy ground at Leicester was a valid excuse. Lucky Deal is an improving sort who should like the trip. This looks on the long side for Baileys Excelebration and Rocky Shore is still a maiden.

Sofia’s Rock won at this meeting last year and hasn’t won since. He runs in the last race of the card, the Armstrong Family Support The ABF Handicap. It is over one mile two furlongs. Teodoro is a course and distance winner and notched up a treble before struggling in a tough handicap and has a chance if he can replicate his level of form from last season. Nayel won on seasonal debut and has the services of Silvestre De Sousa, who has been flying at the minute, in the saddle. Both of Master Singer’s wins to date have come on an artificial surface so that’s a worry. Kaarwaan was a close up third last time out and will be sharper from that.

Samantha’s Selections

Race 1- Mancini

Race 2- Ventura Knight

Race 3- Sands Of Mali

Race 4- Battaash

Race 5- All Out

Race 6- Maid In India

Race 7- Deyaarna

Race 8- Teodoro

Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes Preview

ADDEYBB will be partnered by James Doyle


By Samantha

Some very good horses have won this race including the mighty Frankel. He bolted up by five lengths on his four year old debut. In the two years before that, Canford Cliffs and Paco Boy won the race. Last year, it was Ribchester who stole the show, stamping his dominance on a good field. Lightning Spear was in second that day and runs again this year.

Aidan O’Brien has four of the sixteen runners this time around. The selection of his jockeys seems to be Rhododendron, who has a fillies’ allowance as she has Ryan Moore on board. Last season, she was the favourite for both the 1000 Guineas and the Oaks but she could only manage second in both races. She’s a Fillies’ Mile winner so the trip won’t be an issue for her but it is odd that she has come back down to sprint distances after winning a Group One at Chantilly at the end of last season. On her seasonal debut, she finished fourth behind Cracksman in a Group One over one mile two furlongs. Deauville will be partnered by Wayne Lordan and he is joint highest rated in this. In Britain last season, he was very consistent but struggled abroad. He won the Huxley Stakes at Chester in May 2017. He hasn’t won over a mile but has speed for this trip as he is a seven furlong winner. Lancaster Bomber has ran in most of the major one mile races of the past few years. At two, he was second in the Dewhurst and then at three, his best run was second in the St James’ Palace. He made his four year old debut in the Dubai Turf and he finished eleventh and it doesn’t look as though he can win this. War Decree was second in this year’s running of the Huxley stakes last week and it was a good return to form by him. He won a Group Three contest in September on an artificial surface at Dundalk and won the Group two Vintage Stakes as a two year old. Based on recent form, he is probably the second best of the four O’Brien horses based on their recent form.



Limato and Labrisa Breeze are two Group One winners. Limato has been a huge star for Henry Candy. He has won eight times and five of them were at group level. He hasn’t been seen since winning a Group Two at Newmarket in October. In that race, Dutch Connection was pulled up. Henry Candy’s charge seems to be more effective over sprint trips and he has been fourth and sixth on both starts over a mile. Labrisa Breeze’s last run in Britain was in October at Champions Day when he won the sprint. Then, in March, he was ninth over in Meydan. He usually runs over sprint trips but has won over this trip so there shouldn’t be an issue with that.

ADDEYBB has made great progress already this season by winning both of his two starts. On his first start of the campaign, he won the Lincoln by two and three quarter lengths and then followed that up by winning a Group Two at Sandown. He should be able to take the step up in grade in his stride and has age on his side against the older horses. Four year olds have won the race eight times in the past ten years but he is in stall sixteen and the highest winning draw over the past ten years was stall ten. He is a progressive type that can stamp his group level qualifications in this race and his jockey-trainer combination is one to be feared.

Two of the big Dubai organisations, Godolphin and Qatar Racing, are represented in this. Goldolphin has Dutch Connection. He is a group winner but has lost his way recently. Last time out, he was pulled up behind Limato because he injured himself and went lame. A huge negative is that he hasn’t won a single one of his ten starts over a mile. The Qatar runner, Lightning Spear, probably has the best chance of the two. He won the Celebration Mile at Goodwood and has won five times over a mile. The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot ties a lot of these runners together. Lightning Spear was the best placed of the runners who will run in this. Zonderland was eighth, Beat The Bank was tenth and Lancaster Bomber finished fourteenth.

Beat The Bank was brilliant last year for connections. He ran seven times and won five of them- three of which were over a mile and in class one company. He has won every type of group race apart from a Group One. He has the second highest mark and has a good chance of adding a Group One to his collection if the big horses flop and if he has improved from three to four. Roger Varian has promising Zabeel Prince in this. He has only been beaten in two of his six starts and he was extremely impressive in a Doncaster Listed race. Whether he is ready for the step up to Group One company, it is unclear but he has a good progressive profile.

Suedois won twice at the end of last season including a Group Two with Alexios Komnenos behind him. His other win was in America at Keenland in a stakes race over a mile. Then he went to Del Mar and came fourth in the Breeder’s Cup Mile. Lancaster Bomber was two places ahead. Alexois Komnenos is a Group Three winner over a mile at the back end of last season but couldn’t transfer that to Group Two level. He looks as though he won’t handle this grade.

Clive Cox has Zonderland in this race. He is a dual Listed winner at a mile. He has been behind Lightning Spear twice in Group Two company and was just a nose behind him in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood when headed on the line. That is good form but he needs to improve and so will Accidental Agent who looks like he will struggle to win this.

Chatting With… Gabriele Malune

Banksea (left) gives Gabriele Malune his first win under rules.

By Samantha


Gabriele Malune is making a name for himself as a really promising apprentice. He works for Marco Botti and the trainer has supplied him with some of the biggest winners of his fledgling career so far. I caught up with him and asked him some questions.

What got you interested in horse racing?
I grew up around horses back at home and used to go racing quite a lot. Racing in Sardinia is very different to England but it was enough to get me interested.

When did you realize you wanted to be a jockey?
As long as I can remember I never wanted to do anything else.

Who is your favorite horse you’ve ever ridden?
One of my favourites that I will never forget is Banksea . He was my first ever ride and on the same day he was my first winner as well. I also looked after him for 2 years, so he’s a horse that’ll be hard to forget. I’d love to bring him back home when he retires.

What has been the best moment of your career so far and why?
My career has only started so it has to be my first winner for Marco Botti in a Class 2 on Kyllachy Gala for Excel Racing.

Is there a horse you’re most looking forward to riding this season?
I finished 3rd in the Victoria cup at Ascot on Saturday [12the May] on a horse for David Evans called Sea Fox. Hopefully I’ll keep the ride and I can ride it in some more valuable handicaps.

Is there a horse from Marco Botti’s that we should be looking out for this season?
Capla Temptress is an exciting filly for the yard she finished a close 4th in the French Guineas last week. She is small but has a big heart and will be exciting for the team and her owners this season in Group Ones.

If you could have the ride on any horse in training at the minute who would it be?
I would love to ride Cracksman because we all know how good he is. But I would love to ride Young Rascal- he’s the best of the British for the Derby this year and he looks like he will keep improving as the year goes on.

What is your main piece of advice for anyone who wants to be a jockey?
It’s really hard to give advice because I’m still trying to make it myself but I think a supportive boss and a good agent (I have to thank both of them for the great help) and definitely the harder you work the luckier you get.

What is your main goal for this season?
I want to ride as many winners as I can for good trainers in good races and keep on riding winners for all the trainers who have supported me so far.

Would you rather win the Derby or be Champion Jockey?
I would love to win the Derby it is the most famous flat race that is know around the world it takes everything to win. If you get a ride in the Derby, you are doing something right and, if you can go and win, it you get to be a part of history and win the most prestigious race in the world. There is no race like it!

Thank you so much for talking to us. Best of luck for the season ahead!

Dante Stakes 2018 Preview

white mocha.jpg
White Mocha (far side) is bred to stay.

By Samantha (16/5/18)

Grade- Group Two

Distance- 1m2f

Course- York

Prize Fund- £93,572 (1st place)

The Dante is a race buried in history. It is, by some people, judged as the best trial for the Derby. Last year’s winner was a horse called Permian. He won this by three quarters of a length but couldn’t do the Dante-Derby double as he finished tenth in the Epsom showpiece. He later went on to win the King Edward VII Stakes but then collapsed and died when racing in America. It was a brilliant renewal of the Dante in 2017 as the third horse, Benbatl, went on to be extremely successful both in the UK and Dubai afterwards. Behind him was St Leger second Crystal Ocean, Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling and Forest Ranger who won a Group Two at Chester last week. It is a tough feat to do the Dante-Derby double and only four horses have done it since 2000. This race can offer some big race hints for the season to come.

Mark Johnston trained Permian to win this and he has his half brother Mildenberger in this. The Teofilo colt has won four of his six starts, including two Listed races. We have seen him run once as a three year old and that was when he won the Feilden Stakes by half a length at Newmarket in April. On his fiunal two year old start, he was third in the Royal Lodge behind Roaring Lion and that is decent form. He win have to deal with a step up in trip but he stayed on well in the finish last time out so the extra one furlong won’t be an issue.

It is likely that Mildenberger will reverse the running with Roaring Lion who hasn’t shown any of the form he showed as a two year old this year. The latter was unbeaten in all bar one of his races, when he was behind Derby favourite Saxon Warrior in the Racing Post Trophy, going into his second season racing. On his three year old debut, he was a disappointing third in the Craven behind Masar and White Mocha, who stayed on to deny him second place but he definitely needed that race. He looked quite plain in the Parade Ring and never looked to be enjoying it. Then he went to the 2000 Guineas and came fifth. This is a step up in trip for him and connections will be hoping he returns to form in this but it isn’t likely that he will stay as his dam only won over a mile. Despite being by Kitten’s Joy, a twelve furlong winner, he has never looked as if he would stay the extra two furlongs.



White Mocha hasn’t been seen since staying on over a mile in the Craven to make late headway in a very eye-catching fashion. He won two of his two year old starts and in his most recent of those, he beat Knight To Behold, who has won twice since, one of which was the Lingfield Derby Trial. Hugo Palmer’s colt does have a Derby entry so connections must think he isn’t without a chance. He is by Lope De Vega out of a two mile one furlong winner so he will definitely stay and the step up in trip will definitely suit and he is a good each-way contender.

James Cook is by Derby winner Galileo so he should stay this trip despite not impressing last time out over today’s trip behind Crossed Baton at Epsom with stable mate Zabriskie in sixth. He has a fabulous pedigree being a full brother to Found and Group Three winner Magical Dream. He isn’t and probably won’t be as good as Found but she got better as she progressed so he could do the same.

Crossed Baton was over three lengths ahead of James Cook over a mile two in the Listed Derby Trial at Epsom. The horse is a son of Dansili and ran twice as a two year old. He was sixth on his debut behind Roaring Lion and then won his maiden in September. He came back as a three year old and won a class five novice stakes and then took a step up in class in his stride when he won last time out. The fact that he is proven over the trip boosts his chances and he is one of just two distance winners in the line up.

The other is Godolphin’s Nordic Heights. He made his debut over this trip at Lingfield in March, after not running as a two year old, and won that by a length. He then followed that up with a Novice Stakes win on turf at Newmarket by two lengths. This is a huge step up in grade for him but he has a nice pedigree being by Intello, who has his first three year old crop running this season which includes Young Rascal who has a good chance in the Derby, and Listed race winner Marika. He is an unknown quantity in this.

Wells Farhh Go seems to be too. He has ran twice, both at York, and he won both including the Acomb Stakes, beating Greenham winner James Garfield. He is making his three year old debut in this and has a step up in trip to deal with. His dam has had jumps winners in the past over two miles and further so he won’t be lacking stamina as she has won over this trip as well.

Zabriskie is by Frankel and it’s hard to know whether he has a chance or he is just a pacemaker and Merlin Magic won a handicap last time out so will have to step up. Both will need a huge improvement to take this.


WHITE MOCHA looks a very progressive type and I was really taken by the way he stayed on in the Craven and he will love the longer trip. Crossed Baton’s chances are hard to ignore and Wells Farhh Go could be anything and I know that connections are very hopeful of a good run.

Chester Cup Preview

Chester and this race are steeped in history.

By Samantha



The Chester Cup is most people’s favourite race of the Chester’s May meeting. Ran over two miles and two furlongs, it is a marathon race as far as flat races go and often attracts National Hunt trainers to run their horses in this. Another enticing thing is the prize money. For first place, the prize fund is £92,385, roughly £30,000 less than what the Grade One King George VI Chase’s prize fund is and that’s a Grade One National Hunt race. Another trend is that the winner tends to come from lower draws which benefits most of the most fancied runners. Let’s take a look at the runners:-

Fun Mac was best placed in this race last year coming third. He has last year’s winning jockey, Oisin Murphy, on board and the horse’s last win came in July 2017 at Maisons-Laffitte in a Listed race over just under two miles. That day, he had Vent De Force, his stable mate, in behind. Stamina shouldn’t be an issue as he stayed on in the last furlong of this race last year so he is a definite contender. His form hasn’t been brilliant since though.

Who Dares Wins, from Alan King’s yard, was half a length behind Fun Mac in fourth, in this last year. He has since been third in the Ascot Stakes but failed to impress in his next race here at Chester where he was tenth behind My Reward. He won the Cesarewitch trial race at Newmarket but couldn’t back that up in the actual race. He spent the winter hurdling and finished fifth and third at the two big festivals, Cheltenham and Aintree. He has a nice weight but stall fifteen will be hard to win from.

Magic Circle is another runner from a National Hunt trainer. He has been a good horse for connections so far, winning six of his nineteen career starts. He hasn’t been seen since finishing third in the Cesarewitch with Who Dares Wins and Dubawi Fifty ahead of him. He won a handicap at York off 97 with My Reward second and Saigon City in sixth. He is at an almost career high mark of 101 but has a decent draw and that will help him.

My Reward is a very decent horse who won the Chester Stakes here last year over one mile five furlongs. He has had three starts since and has ran well in each including last time out over two miles when he was third. He weakened in the last few furlongs in that race and has only contested two miles two once in his career when he was twenty-ninth in the 2016 Cesarewitch. He has the inside stall and a nice weight but the trip is a worry.

Nakeeta won the 2017 Ebor at York and then went to the Melbourne Cup and came fifth in that. He was second by a short head in this in 2016 behind No Heretic so he stays the trip. He has top weight of 9st 10lbs but Callum Rodriguez takes off 3lbs and he is a very good claimer. Stall 13 isn’t brilliant for his chances.

A horse with a good draw is Stargazer. Since the turn of the century, five horses have won coming from stall four and that is where he will line up on Friday. He moved from Sir Michael Stoute’s yard to Philip Kirby’s yard and ran first time out for them in March and finished a good second over two miles he has shown some inexperience on both starts for the Kirby team but based on that run, seems as though he wouldn’t mind the step up in trip. Dubawi Fifty was the 5/6 favourite for that race but was a neck behind Stargazer in third. That was after he won a class two handicap over two miles in February. He stayed on well that day and makes his return to turf. He was fourth in the Cesarewitch and he had Who Dares Wins, Magic Circle, Time To Study, Fun Mac and Watersmeet all behind him that day.

Since then, Watersmeet has won three races on the All-Weather and has proven himself to be a good stayer. He has raced over two miles two once in this last year when he finished sixth. He is still progressing despite the fact that he is seven years old. A downside is that he seems more of an All-Weather specialist as eleven of this thirteen career starts have come on an artificial surface. He has a nice draw in two though. Time To Study is Mark Johnston’s other runner. He is only four and looks progressive. His only try over two miles two furlongs was in the Cesarewitch, when he finished seventeenth. He was second on bottomless ground on his seasonal debut over one mile five and then followed that up with another second in a Group Three over one mile seven furlongs, beaten by the classy Torcedor. The trip will be an issue for him but he has form at Group level so that puts him in the picture.

Silver Cocorde won the Champion Bumper for Robbie McNamara


SILVER CONCORDE has winning form over this trip and further over hurdles. He has been a good hurdler after switching to Keith Dalgleish’s yard. He has won three of his five novice hurdle starts for him over the winter. For Dermot Weld, he won the Champion bumper in 2014. He is three from eight runs on the flat and was third in this race in 2016. He is my selection because he has barely any weight to carry and an okay draw in nine. A kink in his armour would be the fact that he is ten years old and no ten year olds have won it since last century. Despite this, he has been absolutely flying recently and comes from a good yard.

Jukebox Jive is also a novice hurdler but he is a lot younger. This four year old has ran eleven times on the flat winning three and twice over hurdles winning once. His debut hurdle win came over two miles and a furlong but he stayed on well in the finish so this trip shouldn’t be a problem. He was fourth over two miles behind Watersmeet in January and won on his first start over two miles two by a short head in July.

Shadow Sadness is having his first start for Oliver Greenall. He has won four times in Germany and France. The furthest trip he has ran over is one mile six so this looks tough for his English debut. Saigon City has won once over two miles but is yet to race over further. He was sixth behind Magic Circle at York in August 2017and was ninth in a Nottingham Listed Race over one mile six so he will most likely struggle in this. Vent De Force was eleventh in that race. He has won over two miles but it doesn’t look like he could win this.

Cayirli won last time out over one mile seven furlongs at Kempton last time out after a 537 day break. He could improve from that run but his draw ruins most of his chances of winning. Prince Of Arran won in Meydan over the Winter over two miles. He has a step up in trip to contend with but has a decent draw.

Grandee used to be with Jessie Harrington and now he’s with David O’Meara. He hasn’t contested a race of this length before so it looks as though he will struggle. Only one of his sire’s flat progeny have won over fourteen furlongs so that is a further dampener on his chances.

Guineas Weekend- Sunday Preview


By Gaurav

Qatar Racing Handicap

ADAMANT steps up in trip today which can only be seen as a positive for the Micheal Stoute trained horse, who is a worthy favourite, having finished second in a handicap at Newbury last month. Wolf Country could be seen as a potential danger for the inform Charlie Appleby and William Buick however his mark maybe a little too high, the same can be also said for the Roger Verian trained UAE PrinceThe Grand Visir for William Haggas could run well too, with staying qualities of 1m6f and seen to improve this season with Silvestre De Sousa in the saddle.

Charm Spirit Dahlia Stakes (Group 2)

There isn’t a lot to say about this race, as the hot favourite WUHEIDA should take all the beating on it’s Breeder’s cup win back in November and despite getting a penalty for that it is hard to see any of these getting close should it run anywhere to it’s previous level. Each way claims could be made for Tisbutadream on his form towards the end of last season and with Ryan Moore riding. Handicap

A competitive race, with Mr Lupton being a worthy favourite, having won this last year off a higher mark and makes his seasonal reappearance. Eastern Impact is also a past winner of this race and finished second last year and ran well on his first start of the season however a chance is given to VICTORY ANGEL for the Roger Verian stable, who has a mixed bag of form however has won over course and distance, with De Sousa riding which can only be a positive.

Qipco 1000 Guineas Stakes (Group 1)

The highlight race which as usual looks very open. Aiden O’Brien has a strong hand in this race and Happily heads the betting. Ryan Moore arrives from the states for the ride and she is seen as a big danger on her form from last season, winning group ones over the mile trip. Soliloquy is interesting and it is hard to write off anything of Buick and Appleby at the minute and was impressive in winning a group 3 at Newmarket last month. However for me, the bet in the race is the Ballydoyle second string, I CAN FLY who has a similar profile to last year’s winner Winter. She is lightly raced but is open to a big improvement, having ran well in last month’s trial but was given a very much educational gallop more than anything. LAURENS is for me her main danger, having won the group one fillies mile towards the end of last season.

Havana Gold Maiden Stakes

An intriguing maiden, FLY THE NEST is for me the worthy favourite, with the yard having a good striker with horses on debut this season. The horse cost 200,000 euros yearling and goes for the inform duo, with Charlie Appleby having won this last year with a debutant. Konchek is also a danger, running first time for Clive Cox, who had a winning 2 year old first time out at Ascot on Wednesday. Barend Boy has race course experience, finishing second on debut at Leicester where it ran on late but the horse isn’t on the same level of breeding as some of these and could struggle against some potentially very good 2 year olds.


Guineas Weekend- Saturday Preview

By Samantha



Spring Lodge Stakes (Handicap)
OASIS CHARM won his first start as a four year old by a length over a mile and two furlongs. He won over this trip at Leicester at around this time of the year. He has been placed over course and distance and looks a progressive type who should handle the ground. Sharja Bridge is the most inexperienced in the field. He won his maiden at Nottingham in August. He was second last time out in September but has to step up in trip and class in this. Tricorn is three from seven. He isn’t tried over this trip yet and has failed to win on both attempts in this grade last season. Despite being second in Listed company, Dommersen seems the pick of the Gosden pair based on jockey bookings. He has been second over this trip but both of his wins have come on fibresand. Silvestre De Souza is doing his minimum weight to ride Another Eclipse so that boosts his chances. He has been gelded since last time and has scope to improve. Spark Plug and Third Time Lucky are course and distance winners.

Longholes Palace House Stakes (Group Three)
Since the turn of the century, three three year olds have won this. HAVANA GREY is the only three year old this year and he looks a smart sprinter to watch out for. He won the Group Three Molecomb at Goodwood beating Invincible Army who won on Wednesday. Further improvement can be made by this horse and he will handle the ground and has almost no weight. Alpha Delphini ran well last time out to finish second on horrible ground, when looking for a three timer at Musselburgh. He beat Ornate there in October. Encore D’Or has been running well lately on the All Weather, where most of his wins have come. His stablemate Jumira Bridge was second last time out and will like the ground. Super-filly Marsha won this last year and her jockey Luke Morris partners Judicial this year. He could be out of his depth in this Grade but the ground will suit. Mabs Cross is one of two fillies in this race but looks the better of the two. She is four from seven and was just denied by a neck on her reappearance at Bath. She’s a Listed winner and looks a danger to my selection due to her allowance.


havana grey.jpg
Havana Grey

Dunaden Jockey Club Stakes (Group Two)
DEFOE was fancied to win the St Leger last season but flopped. He had won a Group Three and a Listed race on his two starts before that. He burst into his four year old season with a brilliant win by two and a half lengths in a Group Three and that will set him up nicely for this. Count Octave also won first time out in 2018 but in a Class Five novice race. The Frankel colt was sixth in the St Leger and has finished close in this company in the past. He was second by only a neck in the Queen’s Vase at Ascot and that is very good form. Master The World and Red Verdon are both rated 107. The former won the Winter Derby and likes to spring a surprise win once in a while. Red Verdon won a Listed race in November but just missed out at a top three finish in the All-Weather Marathon Race at the Championships as he was half a length back in fourth despite staying on in the finish.
Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes (Group One)

To read my preview for the 2000 Guineas, please click this link:- 2000 Guineas Preview 2018

Hot Streak Handicap (Class Two)
Chagatai and Crotchet are the two most lightly raced horses in the field. The former’s only defeat came when last in a Listed race behind Havana Grey. The margin between him and the winner was only three and a quarter lengths. He won first time out this season and Clive Cox does well with his sprinters. Crotchet is a filly and has also ran three times. She won her first race but has been tenth and third since. She could improve with age. Count Otto won his first two starts this year but couldn’t get close to winning behind Corinthia Knight in the Three Year Old All Weather Championship. William Haggas and James Doyle are a strong combination and they have Barton Mills in this. All his best runs have come over seven furlongs though. YAFTA is a really nicely bred sprinter being by Dark Angel out of multiple Listed winner and Newmarket specialist Swiss Dream. He was fourth on debut behind group race winner Headway at Chester. He finished last season with two wins and looks like he can continue his good run in this. Galloway Hills’ best form has come over five furlongs and Grandfather Tom is making his turf debut. Tribal Quest beat Galloway Hills last time out and Vj Day’s best runs have come on the all weather.
Havana Gold Newmarket Stakes (Listed)
Old Persian and Petrus are joint highest rated. Based on their form figures, OLD PERSIAN looks the pick of the two. He won over course and distance last month and was put up 5lbs for that. Petrus was fourth on debut behind Expert Eye and then won his maiden. Connections then put him in the Group Two Royal Lodge Stakes and he came fourth. Then he was fourth in Group Three company last time out. He must be held in high regard for connections to run him in those races so he could improve now he is three. Permian won this last year and his stable have Lynwood Gold. A winner on debut, he then had four runs over the space of just under two months and hasn’t been seen since. He was a two and a half length winner over one mile one furlong and he looks as if he will stay the extra furlong. Hawkbill won this the year before last and his connections team up again with Key Victory. He is a Teofilo colt like Permian was and has ran once. That was over seven furlongs and he won so this is a huge step up in trip for him to deal with. Stephensons Rocket is another Teofilo and he won his second start by over three lengths. He has been second over a mile but sprinting may be the way he should go in the future. Highbrow is making his turf debut and Graffiti Master has been third over today’s trip.
Qipco Racing Welffare Handicap
Charlie Appleby has two in this- Symbolization and Folk Tale. SYMBOLISATION looks the pick of the two, despite his big weight. No horse has won this with over 9st 5lbs on their back or from stall four in the past ten years. His form has been solid so far and he was a close second on his turf debut so that is encouraging. The trip is an unknown but the way he won over seven furlongs suggests that he wouldn’t mind a step up in trip. Folk Tale won his second start but has disappointed since. Hasn’t ran over a mile yet and is having a drop in grade. Sam Gold could be a threat to my selection. He is a maiden but seems to be improving as he runs. Roulette comes from last year’s winning stable. Her only decent run was in this class. The trip is an unknown for her though. Book Of Dreams is a very experienced three year old. He has won three times and last time out he was fourth behind Crownthorpe. The latter holds Book Of Dreams to that race and is a distance winner so has a shot. Curiosity doesn’t make much appeal.

2000 Guineas Preview 2018

By Samantha


saxon warrior
Saxon Warrior and Roaring Lion fight out the finish to the Racing Post Trophy



This is the first Group One of the season and it kicks off a great bank holiday weekend for Flat racing fans with the 2000 Guineas today and the fillies’ version tomorrow along with some great racing around it.


Aidan O’Brien is looking to get his season off to a great start in this race. He has three in this renewal and he knows how to win it as he won last year with Churchill. His trio are Gustav Klimt, Murrillo and Saxon Warrior. With Ryan Moore over in America, it’s hard to see the preference between Gustav Klimt and Saxon Warrior, judging on jockey bookings. The market is suggesting that Gustav Klimt is the best of the two so I will begin with him. He is three from four and, last time out, he won the Listed 2000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown. He won a Group Two before that but he is untried over a mile so that is an issue. SAXON WARRIOR is unbeaten and rated 7lbs higher than Gustav Klimt. He is a Deep Impact colt by Maybe, who was an unbeaten two year old for Aidan O’Brien. She won a Group One, Two and Three and a Listed race in her career. Saxon Warrior has an older full brother who hasn’t done nearly as well as the second foal, who finished his two year old season in great style by winning the Racing Post Trophy. He had Roaring Lion in second and that race has worked out to be a strong race. No horse has won from his draw since before 1994 but that is only a trivial kink in his armour. Murillo looks to be the likely pacemaker for the race. He has only ran over five and six furlongs so he will set a good pace. His sire is Scat Daddy and he won over a mile so he could stay the trip and actually have a good chance but it’s hard to know when you are trying to work out Aidan’s reasons for placing his horses in certain races.


Expert Eye and Roaring Lion were both expected to win on their reappearances but both failed to deliver. The former won his first two races including the Group Two Vintage Stakes. He concluded last season by coming last in the Dewhurst in which Cardsharp came fourth. On his reappearance, he came second behind James Garfield in the Greenham Stakes, disappointing lots of people. Roaring Lion’s first run this year was finishing third behind Masar in the Craven. Before that, he had won his first three races including the Royal lodge Stakes but he was then second in the Racing Post Trophy behind Saxon Warrior. The Craven is ran over course and distance and Masar won it in fine style, winning by nine lengths. Godolphin’s colt has won three of his four starts in the UK. Between his first three starts and his win in the Craven, he ran on three different continents without much luck. He has matured well and stamped his dominance over a possibly smart field of horses.


james garfield
James Garfield



James Garfield would be a fairytale winner for young trainer George Scott. This son of Exceed And Excel is a is three from seven in the UK one of those wins was in the Group Two Mill Reef, where he had Nebo in third. Then he went over to Del Mar but was unplaced behind Mendelssohn. He came back as a three year old and put up a great, gutsy display in the Greenham beating Expert Eye. He definitely isn’t without a shot.


Raid is very inexperienced compared to most of the other horse in the race. He won on debut at two and then was thrown into group company in behind James Garfield so connections obviously think he is a good horse. Nebo has finished behind Gustav Klimt and Rajasinghe as well as James Garfield as was mentioned earlier. This makes his chances seem very small.


Mark Johnston has the top two on the race card in this in the form of Cardsharp and Elarquam. Cardsharp will be partnered by James Doyle, who has been in great form of late. He seems to be more of a sprinter as he has only won over five or six furlongs and is yet to run over a mile. He is the current outsider of the field at about 100/1. It is surprising that Doyle is on him as he won on Headway earlier in the season and regularly rides for Headway’s trainer William Haggas. Johnston’s other runner, Elarquam, looks to have a better chance than the aforementioned one. He is two from two and is a Group Two winner on his latest start which came at the end of last year. Tip Two Win was second that day. He is yet to win over a mile and is looking to give Frankel his first Classic winner. Similarly, Headway hasn’t ran over a mile yet either but he did win well over seven furlongs last time out and seemed to have lots left in the tank after that win so he will probably appreciate the trip. He was second in the Coventry stakes behind Rajasinghe and there was only a head that split them last season. It looks like he will be able to reverse the form with Rajasinghe as the latter hasn’t shown much good form since. It looks like he is best in sprints as he was third in the July Stakes but he hasn’t really been tested properly over a mile so there is a chance he performs best over a mile.


Tip Two Win is an extremely consistent horse as he has never been worse than third in all his five starts. He is a winner over six and seven furlongs but it seems like he is more of a sprinting type as he is by Dark Angel and out of Freddie’s Girl, a decent sprinter. He hasn’t been seen since finishing behind Elarquam in a Group Three.