Northumberland Plate Guide


By Samantha

Here is your runner by runner guide for the Northumberland Plate.

1.Higher Power
(James Fanshawe and Tom Queally)

👍He won this last year off 107 and he is only 1lbs higher than this time last year and could return to winning ways.
👎He has struggled to win since and has been down the field on all bar one of his races when he was third last time out.

2.Time To Study
(Mark Johnston and PJ McDonald)

👍He has a decent strike rate on the All-Weather by winning one of his two starts on this surface. He is very consistent at this level.
👎Has been down the field on all of his starts around two miles so probably won’t stay.

(Ian Jardine and Callum Rodriguez)

👍Ebor winner two years ago, he then went to the Melbourne Cup and finished a good fifth over the two mile trip so will stay.
👎 He’s never won off a mark this high before and he was tenth in the 2016 renewal of this race but did run into trouble in running.

4.Prince Of Arran
(Charlie Fellowes and Adam McNamara)

👍Winner over two miles in Dubai over the winter. Multiple winner on the All-Weather, he has a decent shot at a big price.
👎His last winning mark in the UK was 83 and he is now on 107.

(Mark Johnston and Joe Fanning)

👍Incredibly consistent on the All-Weather surfaces. Winner over two miles at Wolverhampton, he will enjoy this trip. Possible each way contender.
👎He was thirty first in last year’s Cesarewitch behind Withhold, Lagostovegas, Byron Flyer and Time To Study.

6.On To Victory
(Eve Johnston-Houghton and Charlie Bishop)

👍He has won over one mile six beating Prince Of Arran. He was third in a Listed race last time out beating Clever Cookie, Soldier In Action and Higher Power.
👎Yet to tackle two miles and could possibly stay.

7.Top Tug
(Alan King and Graham Lee)

👍He has never won on the flat over two miles before but has over jumps. He has form figures of 121 on the All-Weather.
👎Has the widest draw and was fifth last time out behind Sir Chauvelin.

8.Lord George
(James Fanshawe and Daniel Muscutt)

👍Fourth in this race last year and then followed that up with a win at Kempton over one mile seven.
👎9lbs higher than this time last year and his last winning mark.

9.Arch Villain
(Amanda Perrett and Paul Mulrennan)

👍winner over this trip, making his seasonal debut.
👎Beaten in this race in 2013 and 2016 and his last win came in 2016 but he has only ran twice since.

10.Clever Cookie
(Peter Niven and David Allan)

👍Distance winner and has been running in lots of the big staying handicaps recently.
👎Getting on a bit now and was ninth in this last year.

(David Simcock and Oisin Murphy)

👍Has plenty of ability in this grade and has placed over this trip before.
👎Doesn’t win often.

12.Natural Scenery
(Saheed Bin Suroor and Paul Hanagan)

👍This mare was second in this race last year a half length behind Higher Power but this year she is on more favourable terms. Her last wins came in February 2017 over course and distance but has seemed a bit high in the weights since.
👎5th behind Prince Of Arran over in Dubai this winter but then reversed that form in a Group Three next time out. In the Group Two Dubai Gold Cup, this filly was three quarters of a length behind the aforementioned horse.

13.Solider In Action
(Mark Johnston and Jack Mitchell)

👍Winner over two miles when he had a brief spell jumping with Nicky Henderson and has won on the All-Weather in November.
👎Hasn’t been running to his best this year.

14.Island Brave
(H Main and Ben Curtis)

👍Four from four on All-Weather surfaces.
👎Yet to tackle this trip but won a few times over a mile and a half.

(Roger Charlton and Robert Winston)

👍This gelding won the Cesarewitch last year but hasn’t ran since.
👎 Connections haven’t been extremely convincing of his chances in this. It is reported that he hasn’t had the best preparation so it may be worth looking elsewhere in this.

16.Byron Flyer
(Ian Williams and Fran Berry)

👍Winner over jumps over two miles and a half so will stay and is also a winner on the All-Weather. His trainer always has his horses primed for the big handicaps.
👎Below par last time out at Newmarket in behind Amazing Red.

(Willie Mullins and Leigh Roche)

👍This filly showed an incredible change of gear last time out in the Ascot Stakes to win over further and she looks as if she will suit the All-Weather even though she has never ran on it before.
👎She has a 5lbs penalty for winning at Ascot and is making a relatively quick turnaround from then but Willie Mullins will have her in good form.

18.Amazing Red
(Ed Dunlop and Jim Crowley)

👍Winner over one mile six and seven furlongs so will stay this trip and always runs well on the All-Weather.
👎He is penalised for winning over one mile six furlongs last time out at Newmarket.

19.Sir Chauvelin
(Jim Goldie and Danny Tudhope)

👍Defied big odds to come second in the Duke Of Edinburgh. Winner over one mile seven over jumps.
👎Six in this race last year and has been down the field on all of his starts over two miles.

(Seamus Durack and Shane Kelly)

👍Winner over one mile seven in a handicap in April, he beat Curbyourenthusiasm by two lengths on that occasion.
👎Well beaten in the Chester Cup last time out.

My Verdict

This race looks a very interesting one and it is extremely competitive. The favourite over the past few days has been Roger Charlton’s Withhold,who won the Cesarewitch, but connections haven’t exactly been singing from the rooftops about his chances so I think he will get beaten. LAGOSTOVEGAS showed a brilliant turn of foot at Ascot and she has a nice weight and draw. Watersmeet could be and each way contender as he is a very good All-Weather performer. Natural Scenery could be a danger.

Royal Ascot Day 5 Preview

Harry Angel

By Samantha


Chesham Stakes
Arthur Kitt is one of the unbeaten horses and he won really promisingly on debut at Haydock by two and a half lengths over six furlongs so will appreciate the step up in trip. NATALIE’S JOY was a brilliant winner of her maiden at Goodwood by a whopping six lengths so the extra distance shouldn’t be an issue. Mark Johnston’s horses have been flying all week and this looks the pick of his charges. Cardini is the only representative from Aidan O’Brien’s yard, who won this last year with September, and has been a relatively short price to date on both of his maiden attempts for what he has achieved so far. His dam won over seven furlongs but it doesn’t look like he will break his maiden in this. On A Session has had a similar prep to last year’s Albany winner by running in and winning the same races. He definitely can’t be ignored. Duke Of Hazzard is a good each way bet as he ran well in two good novice events over five furlongs and should progress from the step up in trip. Paul Cole won this with a horse with a similar profile in 2013.


Hardwicke Stakes
There has been a really pitiful turn out for this race with just five horses going to post. Aidan O’Brien has two in the field in the form of Idaho and Cliffs Of Moher. The former won this last year and returned this season to win the Ormonde at Chester very well. He couldn’t follow that up when a long way behind Cracksman in the Coronation Cup. Cliffs Of Moher is having a quick reappearance after finishing fourth in the Prince Of Wales earlier this week. He was second in the Derby last year but hasn’t shown that kind of form since. He has been seventh and fourth on both his starts at Ascot so Idaho is the preferred Ballydoyle runner. BARSANTI chased home Idaho in this last year. He is very consistent in Class One races as he has never been out of the top three. He kicked off the season well in a Listed race over course and distance with Salouen, who was a long way clear of Idaho last time out, God Given, who won the Pinnacle, Mirage Dancer, who won a Listed race next time out, and Scotland, who was fifth in the Gold Cup, behind him so it looks as though he can reverse last year’s running with Idaho. He has a lot to find on ratings with short priced favourite Crystal Ocean. He’s never been out of the top three and was third in the King Edward VII behind Permian. He has won over a range of distances and has won well on both starts this season in a Group Two and Group Three so is a worthy favourite. Red Verdon completes the field and he may struggle to win this as he has a lot to find on official ratings. He has won over this trip but his best runs seem to have come on the All-Weather. This could be on the field side to him.

Windsor Castle
This looks a nice renewal with all the horses looking like they could be anything. Wesley Ward has brought over Moonlight Romance for this and is hoping for second win at this year’s meeting after Shang Shang Shang ran well earlier this week. This filly was second to her winning stablemate on debut and then followed that up to win a maiden well so she has to be respected. Junius Brutus is also coming over from abroad but this time it’s from France. He won both of his two starts well and comes under the could be anything banner. Aidan O’Brien has two in this but Van Beethoven is the preference. He was a bit disappointing when coming third on debut at Newmarket and then he ran at Naas and bolted up over six furlongs. He found stable mate Fairyland, who ran well earlier this week, too good. This could be on the short side for him despite being by Scat Daddy. The same could be said for Matawaffer. He was fourth on debut over course and distance and won easily next time out when upped to six furlongs. JUNGLE INTHEBUNGLE is likely to be a huge price and I’m not quite sure why. He has done nothing wrong at all and won really well last time out in a class two race and the third horse that day won next time out. He can handle the step up in class and Charlie Bishop has been flying recently. Sabre won on debut by three lengths and then was a neck behind Vintage Brut in a Listed race at Sandown. He could have a chance. Queen Of Bermuda is one of the fillies. She won impressively over five furlongs at Windsor last time out. On her first start, she was beaten by Queen Mary third Shades Of Blue so that is good form.

Diamond Jubilee Stakes

Redkirk Warrior is the real talking horse of the meeting. He is coming over from Australia, where he has won two Group Ones in 2018 so far. He has an interesting story as he ran for William Haggas in his first two starts and then was sold to Hong Kong but didn’t have much luck and was then shipped over to Australia and has flourished. He has a brilliant chance but his main danger will come from an English horse HARRY ANGEL. Clive Cox’s son of Dark Angel was a superstar last year winning three of his six starts in the Sandy Lane, July Cup and Sprint Cup at Haydock. Other English runners with a chance are The Tin Man and Labrisa Breeze. The former won this last year and made a winning return at Windsor. He was behind Harry Angel and Labrisa Breeze in a few races last year. The latter horse runs in this and he won the Champion Sprint Stakes at Champions Day last year. He was disappointing in a Group One in Dubai and is making his English seasonal debut in this. France has City Light in this and he won the All-Weather Sprint Championship on All-Weather finals day at Lingfield. He won a Group Three last time out but may not be up to this class. Bound For Nowhere comes over from America. He was three lengths behind Harry Angel in the Commonwealth Cup last year but, despite winning a Grade Two last time out, he may struggle to reverse the form. Godolphin has D’Bai and it is interesting to see him in this race as he normally runs over further. He won a Group Three last time out and was previously second to The Tin Man at Windsor.
Wokingham Stakes

DREAMFIELD missed all of last season due to injury. Unbeaten at two, he continued that when winning in his first four year old start when winning over course and distance in May. It isn’t likely he’ll lose his unbeaten record and can land this. Mr Lupton could be a danger as he has come down significantly in the weights since this time last year and won nicely at York last month so should have a good shot in this. Gilgamesh won the first race on the card the day Mr Lupton won by a short head over seven furlongs. Has had only ran over six furlongs once but that was a winning one so has a god shot. Out Do won this last year but hasn’t won since. He is only 1lbs higher than then and likes it here. Footlaad has been in flying form since December and he has gone from 82 to 101 since then. He could’ve possibly ran into a good horse in the form of George Bowen when he was second. Most of his wins have come on the All Weather but he is good on firm ground and is a good each way shot.
Queen Alexandra Stakes

Thomas Hobson sets the standard in this as he won the Ascot Stakes her over two miles four last year and then was runner up four days later in this. Sixth in the Melbourne Cup, he has a better chance of than stablemates Meri Devie, who was disappointing earlier this week, and Renneti. PALLASATOR  has been running in top company over hurdles and he won a Grade Two over two miles four and will stay so he has a good chance. Also, he has won round here before. Fun Mac was second over two miles two in the Chester Cup last time out and was fifth in this last year so he has a good shot. Count Octave is yet to tackle any trip like this but Frankels seem like they will stay so he has a good chance. Templestatefloresco goes for Colin Tizzard and has a good draw in two on his flat debut. He is a decent jump horse and will most definitely stay and he is quite interesting. Possibly overpriced at 40/1.

Royal Ascot Day 4 Preview

Royal Ascot Day 4 Preview

By Evie

Albany Stakes

Out of the Aidan O’Brien horses in the race, the once raced Just Wonderful is the favourite, being the mount of Ryan Moore, having beat Gossamer Wings (Queen Mary 2nd) by a length and a half. However, as is common for a two year old race, most of the horses are relatively unknown factors. Octave could be interesting, having won her debut, but finishing second in her most recent start, having run into subsequent Royal Ascot winner Calyx. Octave very well could boost Calyx’s form by going one better in this race.

King Edward VII Stakes

There doesn’t seem to be a strong favourite for this race, going by the betting. A horse who won’t struggle with the distance will be Giuseppe Garibaldi, who has won well over further. An unknown factor could be Old Persian, who has a good season, with his form reading 121, with a victory in a three runner race coming most recently. He takes a huge step up in trip, but it can safely be assumed that he will enjoy the step up in distance.

Commonwealth Cup

Group 1 winner Sioux Nation is the favourite for this race, which is understandable. Most recently he won a Group 3, and should he regain his two year old form it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him come home in front. However, there are two longer odds horses that could outperform their odds. One of which is Gidu, a gorgeous grey by Frankel, who comes over off the back of two stakes wins in America. He is another unknown horse, and could be anything, having not raced against any European horse before, so there’s no form to hold him against. The ground should suit, as American horses prefer the ground on the faster side, as Firm to Good ground is. Another longer odds horse (although he’s currently at 8-1) is Sands Of Mali. He’s unbeaten thus far this season, and has form against a fair few of the horses in this field. Therefore, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him come home in front.

Coronation Stakes

There are plenty of on form horses with shorter horses in this race. These include: Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Alpha Centauri; 1,000 Guineas winner Billesdon Brook; Cheveley Park winner Clemmie; and French 1,000 Guineas winner Teppal. An outsider with a chance could be the Godolphin owned Adorable, who has won 2 of her 3 starts this season, which includes a listed stakes at Longchamp, albeit by a head. Should she improve the step up to Group 1 company, she could go well.

Sandringham Stakes

Another very open race, but an outside chance could be Dathanna, who is unbeaten this season. She’s not too far up the weights, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her in the equation.

Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes

The Aidan O’Brien trained Clear Skies could go well, but is under a high weight of 9st 10lbs. A good horse lower down the weights is Thundering Blue under 9st 5lbs, but he is currently the favourite for the race.

Royal Ascot Day 3 Preview


By Samantha

Norfolk Stakes

Five of these are unbeaten and my preference of them is VINTAGE BRUT. He was really good at Sandown in a Listed race in May and can handle step up into Group Two level. He was bought for £280,000 on Monday and can take this. Shang Shang Shang was impressive on debut at Keeneland but Wesley Ward’s horse’s haven’t been running brilliantly this week and he has a similar profile to Ward’s runner in the first on Day 2 who really disappointed. Konchek was beaten a half length by Vintage Brut last time and will struggle to reverse the form but has place claims.

Hampton Court Stakes 

WADILSAFA is a son of Frankel and he won his maiden well last time out by three and a quarter lengths after coming second in his only two year old start. The fifth horse in that race won the Esher Cup so that race is a good form line. Godolphin look to have three good shots in this but the one who looks the best is Key Victory, who won his first two before coming eighth in the Prix Du Jockey Club in France. Nordic Lights was fifth in the Dante and National Army could be anything. Hunting Horn is highest rated yet has put in some average runs since breaking his maiden and this may be on the firm side for him.

Ribblesdale Stakes
Wild Illusion has 9st3lbs to carry and that may be a problem for her. She ran well in the Oaks but the fourth horse in that race is preferred due to the penalty. MAGIC WAND was a runaway winner of the Cheshire Oaks beating Oaks winner Forever Together. She’s back at that trip and on ground she prefers. She has a really good chance of winning this but unexposed Sun Maiden could be a huge danger. She won last time out by twelve lengths and has a nice pedigree being by Frankel out of Midsummer. Perfect Clarity, Athena and Dancing Brave Bear are all each way contenders.

Ascot Gold Cup

Order Of St George won this race two years ago and it looks a highly competitive race this time around. He his highest rated and has won his last two like my selection VAZIRABAD. He won the Dubai World Cup in March for the third time in Dubai and this will be his first start in the UK. He won’t have any quibbles with the trip and looks a big contender. Stradivarius is a very progressive sort and won the Queen’s Vase last year really well. He is going for the in form combination of Dettori and Gosden and has a chance by he is yet to tackle two miles three and was a length behind Order Of St George and a half length behind Torcedor in the Long Distance Cup here in October. Torcedor is also one to put on the shortlist after winning well in the Sagaro Stakes and was fifth in this last year.

Britannia Stakes

This race is a mind-field for punters. CRACK ON CRACK ON is likely favourite after a good performance in the Silver Bowl beating Completion, Finniston Farm and Simpson. He will be coming out of stall 17, which may be the wrong side, but they’ve been coming down the middle in some of the races so there shouldn’t be an issue regarding the draw. Last year’s winner won of 8st9lbs and Corrosive, ridden by Josie Gordon, has that weight and has a good chance to land the spoils and break women jockey’s drought at Royal Ascot. His stable companion Curiosity is also fancied to go well with James McDonald in the saddle. He was second last time out behind a hot favourite and had Sam Gold back in third. Also of that ownership, Ostilio has been really consistent but will need to step up.

King George V Stakes

Charlie Appleby has two in this and my selection- CROSS COUNTER– is one of them. He has an okay draw in eleven and was crying out for a longer trip when second on turf debut over 1m2f. He will have improved from that. Appleby’s other runner, Dubhe, won a handicap last time out by four lengths beating Communique and has a good chance for the boys in blue. Mark Johnston has six runners in this and Communique is probably he best bet of them all. Kevin Blake from ITV Racing is a very good tipster and selected Downdraft of Joseph O’Brien’s as his best bet of the meeting so he deserves a look into. Last time out, he won on turf debut by a neck and him and the second went five and a half lengths ahead of the third. The step up in trip will help him and he’s a solid each way bet.


Royal Ascot Day 2 Preview

Royal Ascot Day 2 Preview

By Evie

Queen Mary Stakes

This race is very open, however at the time of writing this the strong favourite for the race is Chelsea Cloisters trained by Wesley Ward, and partnered by Frankie Detorri. She won her only appearance at Keeneland in America by 8 lengths 62 days ago. However, an outside shot could be Gossamer Wings, who has a lot more experience than the rest of the horses in this field. She does seem to be the second string of the Aidan O’Brien horses, being partnered by Donnacha O’Brien instead of Ryan Moore, however as she is by the late Scat Daddy she is likely to handle the speed required for this race.

Queen’s Vase

The current favourite for this 1m 6f effort is Southern France, trained by Aidan O’Brien and partnered by Seamie Heffernan, however Ryan Moore has decided to partner Kew Gardens instead, which could be a hint of something impressive to come from this horse, since Ryan Moore gets first pick of which Ballydoyle horse to ride. Southern France is the lesser experienced horses in the field, so although he has never finished out of the top two, his freshness could lead to a defeat. However he does look to be strong, coming into this race after a win over 1m 5f. Another notable horse could be Stream Of Stars, a full brother to stayer Flymetothestars.

Duke Of Cambridge Stakes

It will be hard to see Hydrangea getting beat in this race, however an outsider chance could be Billesdon Bess, a half sister to 1,000 Guineas winner Billesdon Brook. She is currently the same price as her half sister was when she won her classic, so she could have an outside chance to repeat her younger sister’s luck.

Prince Of Wales’ Stakes

Cracksman is going to be hard to beat. He’s bang on form, and hasn’t yet been beaten this season. Hawkbill could get close if he runs to earlier form.

Royal Hunt Cup

Another very open race, with no clear favourite as of yet, but it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to see Zhui Feng come home in front, having won this race twelve months ago.

Jersey Stakes

Expert Eye could return to winning ways in this race, having run well in his debut this season, before faltering in Group 1 company. Another possibility could be St Patrick’s Day, the full brother to American Pharoah, who has not run since September. He is a relatively unknown factor, but as long as he behaves well before the start he very possibly could come out the other side a winner.

Overall, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some long odds winners tomorrow, with many of the races being extremely wide open. However two horses that will be tough to beat are Cracksman and Hydrangea.

Royal Ascot Day 1 Preview



By Samantha

Queen Anne Stakes

First up, it’s the milers kicking off the biggest flat race meeting of them all. This Group One contest has attracted some nice horses like Bebatl and Rhododendron. The former won the Group Three Hampton Court Stakes here last year over one mile and a furlong. He has been running really well over in Meydan over the Winter over that trip and he won the Dubai Turf last time out. He has had a little break since then but fitness won’t be an issue. This race could be used as a rerun of the Lockinge as eight of the fifteen runners going to post ran in that race. RHODODENDRON kicked off the season by winning that race by a short head to Lightning Spear in second. She has a weight allowance as she’s the only filly in the field and that could prove crucial. Lightning Spear was staying on at the filly to just be denied the win. He is really consistent at the top level always runs a brilliant race in defeat and deserves a Group one win more than any other horse probably in training at the minute. Limato, Beat The Bank, Suedois, Deauville, Accidental Agent and Zonderland all ran in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury as well. Deauville was best placed of them by coming fifth. Aidan O’Brien’s horse has run in four different countries since running in this race last year but hasn’t won since last year. He came close to doing so on his penultimate start but couldn’t quite keep up with the winner Forest Ranger. Accidental Agent and Suedois filled the two places behind him. Both defied big odds to beat a few well fancied runners. Suedois won a stakes race with a huge pot in Keenland but him and Accidental Agent both seem like they’ll struggle to reverse form with the horses who beat them. Two of Suedois’ stablemates are running in this. Lord Glitters is ultra-consistent and won the Balmoral Handicap over course and distance but may struggle in this grade. The trainer also has So Beloved in this and the same comment can apply him as well. There are questions about whether Limato, who placed tenth in that race, actually stays a mile. His form figures over that trip are 460 and he is seen to better effect at six furlongs. Beat The Bank and Zonderland filled up the next two places after him. Beat The Bank was a good 3 year old but struggled on his reappearance in the Lockinge. He’s a Group two winner but will need to step up to contend with this field. Century Dream has last year’s winning jockey on board, William Buick. This four year old son of Cape Cross has won his last two and is a course and distance winner on soft ground in a Listed race. He won the Diomed convincingly on Derby Day and could possibly be an each way contender as he looks progressive. Recoletos and Yoshida are coming from abroad. The former is from France and has won his last two starts, the first of which was a Group Two over seven furlongs and the second was the Group One Prix D’Ispahan. Yoshida is a Japanese horse and won a Grade One last time out at Belmont. Both foreign raiders have a shot. Oh This Is Us will likely be the outsider.

To win- Rhododendron

Each Way- Lightning Spear
Coventry Stakes

High draws are slightly better off over six furlongs and that benefits likely favourite Calyx, who is in Stall 22, of this extremely open, competitive renewal. Eight of the twenty-four runners are unbeaten, including Calyx. He won on debut at Newmarket by five lengths ten days ago and got lots of people not just excited about his future as a race horse but about how good his sire, Kingman, will be. Blown By Wind was a really nice winner on debut but couldn’t quite handle stepping up in grade so may struggle in this. His trainer also has I Am A Dreamer. He has come to be a York specialist by winning his last two there so Blown By Wind is slightly preferred. Aidan O’Brien has two in the line up in the form of monster horse Sergei Prokofiev and The Irish Rover. One and one quarter lengths split the Ballydoyle representatives in their maiden so the former is preferred. He was a four length winner of a Listed race at Naas and is impeccably bred being by Scat Daddy and out of an unraced Tapit mare and was a huge purchase at the sales and was bought for $1.1 Million. The Irish Rover was a cheaper 150,000gns son of No Nay Never. No Needs Never is also sired by that sire, who has been producing some nice two year olds recently. He is trained by Aidan O’Brien’s eldest son Joseph and was second on debut. He was bought at the London Sale on Monday evening for £300,000. Cosmic Law, by No Nay Never, was so impressive last time out when he stalked away from his rivals in the Woodcote at Epsom to win by six lengths. He is one of the more exposed runners as that was his third start. On debut he was just over two and a half lengths behind stable mate Ninetythreetwenty, who runs in this race. The Dragon Pulse colt followed up that victory by winning a conditions race at Pontefract by two and three quarter lengths and looks a tasty price at 33/1. Richard Fahey’s trio is made up by Vange, who is one from two. This Iffraaj colt was an extremely easy seven length winner of a maiden at Chester and could be anything. It’s a really competitive renewal and I’m going to take the chance on COSMIC LAW because he was a brilliant winner last time out and it’ll be awesome for his owner and jockey to win this after tasting French Oaks glory with Laurens on Sunday.

To win- Cosmic Law

Each Way- Ninetythreetwenty


King’s Stand

This year’s King’s Stand is mouth-watering. We are lucky enough to have the two highest rated sprinters in the world- Battaash and Lady Aurelia– facing off over the flying five furlongs. Only a pound separates these two. The English horse is, by ratings, the better of the two. Battaash won really well after completely missing the break in the Temple Stakes at Haydock on his reappearance. He finished a brilliant season off with a win in the Prix De L’ Abbaye at Longchamp beating Marsha who defeated Lady Aurelia in the Nunthorpe. The filly hasn’t won since winning this race last year. She hasn’t seemed herself since and flopped on her return. Connections report that she is in flying form at home so that’s a plus and she really loves this track and Royal Ascot in general. If you judge these horses on their run last time out, Battaash won in a time of 57.36s on good ground and Lady Aurelia was second and the winner won in a time of one minute and two seconds. Based on raw speed, BATTAASH gets the nod. Washington DC and Kachy were second and third behind Battaash in the Temple Stakes. Kachy has won six of his twenty starts and goes in with a live chance to place. He was second as a three year old in the Commonwealth Cup and has been very consistent lately. Washington DC won the Windsor Castle over course and distance as a two year old and hasn’t won since August in a Group Three. It is interesting that Aidan O’Brien’s big race jockey Ryan Moore has chosen Different League over him. Moore’s mount is a three year old filly by Dabirsim. She ran five times for Matthieu Pallussiere and won last year’s Albany at this meeting beating Irish Oaks winner Alpha Centauri. She hasn’t had such luck running for Aidan O’Brien but is likely to win soon just maybe not in this. Bucchero comes over from America but, even at his peak, he may not be good enough to land this. Mabs Cross was a surprise winner of the Group Three Palace House and is definitely a sprinter on the up but she was beaten just over half a length behind Battaash last time out and probably won’t be able to reverse the form in this. Blue Point won a group three in October over six furlongs here at Ascot and he loves it at this course. If he can return to form he’ll be hard to beat and is a good each way bet.

To win- Battaash

Each way- Blue Point


St James’ Palace Stakes

This race has attracted three rather smart horses- Irish 2000 Guineas winner Romanised, English 2000 Guineas second-placed Tip Two Win and unbeaten Without Parole. The latter is current favourite and he goes for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori. This son of Frankel won a Listed race, beating Gabr, in a very workman-like fashion last time out and it’s quite surprising that he is the market preference over horses who have Group One form. Romanised won the Irish 2000 Guineas by two and one quarter lengths to U S Navy Flag, Gustav Klimt and Threeandfourpence and it’s likely that he can finish ahead of them again. Of Aidan O’Brien’s trio, U S Navy Flag is the preference. Wootton ran very keenly in the French 2000 Guineas and he had previously beaten the winner of the race but just didn’t settle. If he can in this, he’ll be hard to beat. TIP TWO WIN would be a fairytale winner for connections if he can land this. He was a good second behind Saxon Warrior in the 1000 Guineas when finishing second ahead of Derby winner Masar. He stayed on to get the second from the back and if there is a strong pace, he has a nice change of gear to get him ahead when the leaders start to tire.

To win- Tip Two Win

Each way- Wootton

Ascot Stakes

Jump trainers tend to have a good record in this race as it is for horses, who are bred to go the long distances. Twelve of the twenty runners are from predominantly jump trainers and maestro Willie Mullins has five runners. Top weight, Whiskey Sour, has been running over hurdles quite successfully over the winter and has won four times on the flat. He was second over two and a half miles so he will stay the trip. Chelkar is partnered by Ryan Moore, who rode Thomas Hobson to victory last year, and he is making his debut for Willie Mullins. He ran five times in France, winning three, but they were over a mile and one furlong and this is a two mile three contest so he may not stay. Lagostovegas has won three times on the flat and the longest trip he has won at is two mile one furlong but he was going away from the field so will probably stay the trip. Stratum used to be with John Gosden but was then moved to Willie Mullins’ yard. He won on hurdling debut and then was second in a Grade Three over two miles. He is trying this trip for the first time but is ultra consistent and has a good shot if he stays. Meri Devie is the only horse to have won over this trip in the whole race and is the pick of the Willie Mullins runners. She has been running well over hurdles over the winter and definitely has a chance. She will be a nice each way price too. DUBAWI FIFTY is a dual winner at two miles and did well to come fourth in the Chester Cup. She has been fourth in the Cesarewitch as well and will be suited to the extreme test. Sam Missile and White Desert have steps up in trips to deal with but they both seem as though they will like it. Look My Way won the Chester Cup consolation race beating Coeur de Lion. Dannyday came back from a long absence and came fourth at Goodwood in May and will probably like the step up in trip.

To win- Dubawi Fifty

Each way- Meri Devie

Wolferton Stakes

The Queen has a runner in this in the form of Fabricate. He won over this trip on the All-Weather at the end of March and has since finished second to Crystal Ocean in the Gordon Richards with Morando in behind and then fourth in the Brigadier Gerald behind LARAAIB, who finished second and lines up against him again in this. Owen Burrows’ colt won his first three and has since been placed in two group threes so this should be a suitable class for him to win in. His main challenges could come from Sharja Bridge and Mirage Dancer, who is preferred to stable mate Muntahaa. The former was second in a competitive handicap last time out over today’s trip and himself and the winner pulled a long way clear of the third. He is fairly lightly raced and will have progressed on from that so has a chance. Mirage Dancer has been running over further than this trip recently and won a Listed race at Goodwood in May. He beat Euginio by three lengths on that occasion and will likely finish in front of him again. He was third on his first start over a mile and a furlong and will likely be there when push comes to shove. Euginio was third in a group three race before coming second to Mirage Dancer but may struggle in this. Yucatan was well beaten by Cracksman last time out and may struggle.

To win- Laraaib

Each way- Sharja Bridge

Handicaps- Yay or Nay?


By Samantha

A handicap is a race where each horse is allocated a weight based on their rating which is decided after studying their ability on the track in an attempt to equalise every horse’s chance of winning. A better horse will run carrying a bigger weight to give it a disadvantage when running against slower horses. In order to make their horse’s weight, jockeys carry lead weights in their saddles so the combined weight is the allocated one. In Britain, the horses are assigned weights according to a centralised rating system maintained by the BHA.

The BHA has a team of eleven ‘Handicappers’ whose job it is to study and interpret the form to decide on ratings. They publish a list of ratings each week established by looking at the horse’s performance on the race course. If one horse is rated 110, and another 100, then it is believed that a difference of ten pounds in the weights would give them an equal chance of winning in a handicap race. Handicappers have many other rolls. They advise stewards on all form matters and help the Racing and Disciplinary Departments when required to. Also, they work with international colleagues in selecting the runners in the top races worldwide and deciding the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings.

Weights may be increased when running in handicap company if a horse wins a race between the publication of the weights and the horse’s next run. In Group One races, horses normally run off the same weight but age and gender penalties are sometimes used. Most handicaps are restricted to horses with ratings in a particular range so as well as determining which weight the horses run off, the handicapping system also decides which races they can run in. If a horse runs above its rating, then they might be raised in the handicap. If the horse keeps running consistently below its mark, then it will come down. Lots of horses can struggle after winning and getting a higher mark to race off of. The current system gives the horses a route to go up the weights and properly progress. It makes racing more random and the starting prices tend to be better due to the ‘unknown’ factor of it all.

A horse’s rating and allocated weight can really affect their chance of winning. Let’s take Richard Fahy’s sprinting sensation Kimberella as an example. He won a Listed race off 109 in August 2017, without going up in the weights. Six days later, he won, causing him to be put up 2lbs and it took him seven runs to return to a feasible winning mark and weight. That win resulted in another 2lbs rise and, next time out, he was a disappointing second favourite by coming seventh of nine. He was dropped two pounds after that and on his most recent start he was just a nose behind the winner. It is all a cycle for these horses who mainly run in handicaps. They can be running and finishing consistently mid-field and have form figures of 856076 and then as soon as they come 2nd or 3rd they get moved up a few pounds and it can seem like the world is against them.

This cycle then increases the chances of a higher priced winner of the big handicap races like the Ebor, Lincoln or Grand National and as a result it makes it harder for punters to select the winner. The handicapping system can make racing more random and plays into the hands of the bookies. On the other hand, some of the best races in the history of the sport were made better by the weight carrying performance of the winner. Desert Orchid won the Irish Grand National by twelve lengths but he had to carry top weight of twelve stone and that made his run even better and more special as he carried more than the other horses.

permian and mark

Trainer Mark Johnston spoke in an interview with Oli Bell from ITV Racing after his horse Sea Youmzain won at Haydock in early June. He said that he thinks that the whole handicapping system should be scrapped and, “The only beneficiary, in my mind, is the betting industry because it makes racing more random and improves bookmaker’s margins.” When Oli asked about a future plan for the impressive filly, Johnston said that he won’t be able to specify one as the Sea The Stars filly is at the level where she has a handicap mark to dictate where she has to run. Horses need to have run three times or to have won on their first or second run before they can receive a handicap mark. Johnston’s opinion sparked a debate about whether the handicapping system was actually necessary and improves horse racing.

A way of erasing the handicapping system would be to have each horse carry the same amount of weight. This would lead to the best horse winning the race and the form would mostly be unquestionable as there would be no “He/she was carrying too much weight”. It would mean that the only excuse for a bad run would be that either the horse was given a bad ride or not on a going day. There wouldn’t be able to be any ‘plot jobs’. This is when two year olds loose a few races over sprint distances and gets themselves a lowly mark and then return as three year olds and win a one mile two race because that’s the distance they are bred to run at. Then they are left ahead of the handicapper until they get caught up with and put on a more appropriate mark. Equal weights would benefit jockeys and the pressure on them to make small weights would lessen and, in consequence, reduce the amount of jockeys retiring young due to weight issues and make the profession more accessible to younger fans.

A down side to equal weights would be shorter prices of the horses most likely to win the race because of their raw form. In a way, racing would lose its randomness by scrapping the handicapping system. The bookmakers would lose money and possibly close down. If that was to happen, lots of people would lose their jobs, including the Handicappers.

The handicapping system could be replaced by a similar structure as the American one. Horses start off in maidens like in the UK and then progress to claimers where the horses can be bought from the race. The next level up is Allowance races which are like handicaps. Horses carry different weights if they won a certain amount of time ago. Then there are Stakes and Group races which are the highest graded races. Another way could be each horse still rated but they link to the grade they are allowed to run in and move up and down accordingly like team do in the Premiership. This would improve the quality of the Group/Grade races but could reduce the amount of horses running at the top level.

This is a really interesting subject and it is hard to find a solution that will benefit everyone but something needs to be done or, in the least, be looked into to help horses like Sea Youmzain and Kimberella do what they were bred to do.

Big thank you to everyone who has helped me on this by expressing their views on how the handicapping system can be changed on twitter – Samantha

Haydock Preview 9/6/18



Betway Middle Distance Handicap

Last weekend’s Derby winning team of Charlie Appleby, William Buick and Godolphin have Night Story in this and he’s the only distance winner in the line up. He was a decent second on debut then that win came on the All-Weather but he disappointed on turf debut. Sea Younzaim won last time out and goes for in form Silvestre De Sousa. She has been third over a mile and a half so shouldn’t have a problem with the trip. The Sea The Stars filly won her handicap debut last time out at Nottingham and, if replicating that, she can go close. Morning Skye won on debut on the All-Weather and has since struggled to do the same on turf. He has ran on most types of ground and placed better when on softer ground. He has been well beaten since his win and may struggle to win this. Jack Regan struggled to win but finally got off the mark on the seventh time of asking on his second start for Ian Williams. Since then, he has come third in this grade and was only beaten one and a half lengths on that occasion. Ian Williams is good at improving horses that come into his yard from elsewhere so he has a chance based on that improved effort from last time out. STAR OF SOUTHWOLD is the highest rated and won his second start, over one mile two furlongs at Newmarket in April. The second horse was a next time out winner but Richard Hannon’s charge couldn’t replicate that effort next time out in the Derby Trial at Lingfield. He was fifth in that race and the fact that he was in that race suggests that he is held in high regard and he has a drop in class that can help him in this race. Podemos is still a maiden but has come close on a few occasions including last time out when he was beaten half a length by an odds-on shot at Chepstow.

Betway Pinnacle Stakes

GOD GIVEN is the only course and distance winner in the field. She was looking for a four timer at the back end of last season but was sixth in a Group One at Chantilly behind last year’s winner Bateel. She is rated 105 and ran a decent race last time out when the only filly in the line up to finish fourth behind Barsanti in a Listed race at Ascot when she was very keen. Richard Kingscote rode last year’s winner Bateel and partners Titi Makfi. She has ran in some good races this season but hasn’t won. Mark Johnston’s filly was third in a Fillies’s Listed race behind Euro Nightmare last time out and, in November, she won her last start as a three year old, a Listed race on the All Weather as, nicely. Cribbs Causeway was third on her seasonal reappearance and her only wins have come in handicaps. She contested a Listed and Group Three company. Last time out, she was behind Precious Remotswe and two places ahead of Mam’selle. She may struggle to win in this grade but is likely to finish ahead of Mam’selle again. She is one of William Haggas’ two runners in the line up. The aforementioned seems the preferred runner by the team as James Doyle is booked to ride. Both are distance winners but Mam’selle is rated 5lbs higher. She has run twice this season and her best results came first time out when she was third behind Isabel Du Urbina and Titi Makfi in a Listed race at Goodwood. What A Home, his other runner, was fancied in that race and was favourite but could only manage seventh. She has won twice and had a reasonably successful three year old season but she may not be able to win in this company. Euro Nightmare won last time out in the Rothesay Stakes and, in doing so, beat Titi Makfi. She deserves her chance to step up to a higher grade. Fosun is coming over from Germany to run here. She’s the oldest runner and won a Listed race last time out at Hannover. It is hard to know how good she is in comparison to these fillies. Melinoe is a model of consistency and was third last time out in a lower grade race so might struggle. Crimson Rossette won last time out in a lower grade and may struggle in this.

Betway Archilles Stakes

Final Venture won this race last year but hasn’t won since. He is 9lbs lower than then and has been returning to form as he was just over half a length behind Mr Lupton in third at York over this trip last time out. Judicial has been third over course and distance and he is one of the more fancied runners as he was second in a Group Three last time out behind Mabs Cross at Newmarket. Alpha Delphini was third, Equimou was fourth and Encore D’or was sixth. Most of Encore D’or’s wins have come on an artificial surface and prefers it when the ground is soft so that may play against him. Alpha Delphihi is joint highest rated with Judicial. The former is getting on a bit but has been running well recently. He was third last time out in a Group Three as I previously mentioned and was second before that beating Blue De Vega. He definitely has a shot at as he enjoys the trip and going. Blue De Vega hasn’t won since 2015 in a seven furlong race. He has been close at this trip but I’m not convinced he flourishes at this trip. MUTHMIR is highest rated and he is very speedy. He won a Group Two over four furlongs at Longchamp around this time last year. He was fifth over course and distance behind Battaash, who is from the same ownership, in a Group Two. Duke Of Firenze is the oldest runner in the line up. He is a multiple five furlong winner and has form on every type of ground. The other three look out of it.

dutch connection

Betway John Of Gaunt Stakes

Emmaus and Lahore contested a Listed race at Leicester on heavy ground in April. Emmaus won and was a long way ahead of Lahore. The winner stands a chance here but may have an issue with the ground. Even so, he deserves the opportunity to step up in company and Roger Varian is extremely good with his older horses. He is unbeaten in the UK but got beaten in France in a Listed race. DUTCH CONNECTION’s recent form hasn’t been fabulous but made an encouraging seasonal debut when coming fourth in a Group One at Newbury after pullling up on his last start last year. Realisticaly, he should take this as he is a multiple winner in this grade and higher. Godolphin also has D’bai. He won over this trip over in Meydan in January. He is versatile and runs well on most grounds. He has a good chance but his stable companion is preferred. Tabarrak won last time out over course and distance and will love the conditions. Muntadab is also a course and distance winner but he seems out of his depth at Group level. Mr Owen has only won in France and you have to go back to 2015 to find his last win on turf. He should’ve won the Lingfield Winter Derby but ended up demoted after impeding Master The World up the run-in. He will probably struggle to figure in this. Larchmont Lad is a Group Three winner at two but hasn’t really transferred that to his career afterwards.

Betway Dash Handicap

This looks a competitive renewal and SUMMERGHAND is the only last time out winner. He won a handicap over this trip at Doncaster and was put up 6lbs for that. He is on a career high mark and has a step up in grade. He is one of four four year olds in the lineup. The other three are Mostahel, Open Wide and Pennsylvania Dutch. Mostahel is making his seasonal debut for Richard Hannon. He has ran five times and won one of those starts, a Class 5 maiden over five furlongs. He was well beaten last time out and may be on a too high mark to take this. Open Wide won in this class over five furlongs at Bath in July. He disappointed last time out but that was on good to soft and he performs better the harder the ground so has a chance on that after some solid placed efforts over this trip on good to firm ground. Pennsylvania Dutch won his first two starts over track and trip on two types of ground but has struggled since. He is back on his last winning mark and won on this card last year. He will have to reverse the running with Summerghand, who beat him into seventh last time out at Doncaster by just over three lengths. Pipers Note’s last win came around this time last year in a similar race and he is three pounds lower than then. Misty Birnam is an interesting runner. He has only ran twice in Britain and Ireland and came third in a Group One in his native South Africa. He was last on both of his two starts for Fozzy Stack and has since moved to Ian Williams and is having his first run for him in this so it is hard to know how he will run. Powerallied has been second on both starts this year and his run last time out was improved by the winner winning at Epsom on Saturday. He is yet to win over six furlongs and has been found one paced on all of his starts over that distance. Calder Prince won first time out this season on the All-Weather. He has been running over further without winning since and will prefer the step back in trip. Reputation and Mickey also have a shot.

Betway Sprint Handicap

Dragon Moon and May Symphonic are the two least exposed runners. Of the two, Dragon Moon is the only winner. He won his second start but it was on the All-Weather and he has been unplaced on his two starts on turf so that isn’t encouraging. May Symbolic’s best run was last time out over seven furlongs when she was second and led the whole way and just got tired in the end. She may not like the going and the trip may be on the short side for her as her dam and half siblings all ran over further. Last Page broke his maiden at the eighth try on the All-Weather at Wolverhampton. He disappointed last time out but couldn’t get a clear lead so was having a battle all the way. He could bounce back from that but I like CHOICE ENCOUNTER. He is ultra consistent and he has been running brilliantly on the All-Weather recently. He ran well on turf as a two year old and can transfer his from back onto it. Breaking Records got headed close home last time out but the first two were twenty two lengths ahead of the third. That was on good to soft and he is yet to tackle firm going. It will be between him and my selection. Becker and Bahuta Acha both look as if they would prefer it if this race was over five furlongs but the former ran creditably last time out when hampered whilst staying on so he is just the preferred of the two. Lord Of The Glen hasn’t got a very good record on turf and Equitant may struggle.

Betway Handicap

Knowing Glance is the only last time out winner in the line up after breaking his maiden at Carlisle. That was over six and he goes back up to seven today, a distance that he has come third at twice. Highlight Reel was fancied in the Silver Bowl here but really struggled. He made some headway towards the finish and will prefer this race and the way it will be ran. Armed Response ended last season with a double on the All-Weather. He tried to make all on his seasonal reappearance but couldn’t manage it and ended up fifth. AL BARG won over this trip and on this ground at Doncaster n his penultimate start and had Lethal Lunch behind on that occasion. The Al Shaqab horse is a big price but he may be the value in the race despite a below par effort last time out. The horse he beat, Lethal Lunch, may struggle with the seven furlong trip as he doesn’t seem to like it. Aquarium has won twice on the All-Weather but hasn’t transferred that onto turf. Fille De Reve’s win came on the All-Weather and runs best on there. No I’m Easy didn’t impress on his first start over seven furlongs.

Derby Guide 2018

Saxon Warrior

By Samantha


Over 15,000 thoroughbred foals are born each year and any of them could be a champion. At that point, no one knows what they could be but each breeder hopes that one of their foals can land the ‘blue ribbon’ horse race. Any of them could but only one will. This race can make or break dreams and aspirations. That’s because it’s The Derby and there is no other race like it.

Racing fans have gotten excited by the promise of Deep Impact colt Saxon Warrior. Aidan O’Brien’s horse bolted up in the 2000 Guineas causing even the most stone-faced of the racing pundits whispering his name and two little words ‘Triple’ and ‘Crown’ in the same sentence.

West Australian was the first horse to win the three races, The 2000 Guineas, The Derby and the St Leger, that make up the Triple Crown in 1853 and since then, fourteen horses have done the treble. Most recently, it was Nijinsky in 1970. Saxon Warrior showed glimpses of him in the way he quickened away from the rest of the field in the 2000 Guineas. He is bred to handle the Derby trip, being by Deep Impact, who won over this trip in his native Japan, and out of Maybe, an unbeaten two year old for Aidan O’Brien who won the full set of Class One races.

Stall One doesn’t have a very good record with producing winners but Saxon Warrior will be partnered by Ryan Moore so that boosts his chances. If any jockey can win from there, Ryan can.

It won’t be as easy as getting a good position and then kicking for home, the unbeaten colt has some nice horses to beat to get his head in front at the line. He runs again against Masar and Roaring Lion, who were behind him the 2000 Guineas, once again and also Derby Trial winner Knight To Behold.

Here is your runner by runner guide to the fourth and most prestigious classic of the season- The Derby.

1.Dee Ex Bee
(Farhh x Dubai Sunrise)
Mark Johnston and Silvestre De Sousa

👍 Course winner on heavy ground last year and will appreciate any cut in the ground. Comes to this from the same race as last year’s winner.

👎 Second to Young Rascal last time out. Untried over one mile four furlongs.

2.Delano Roosevelt
(Galileo x Again)
Seamie Heffernan and Aidan O’Brien

👍 Stayed on into second behind Hazapour last time out so might stay and has been running well and managing to place on every run since his maiden victory.

👎 Has been behind Hazapour, Saxon Warrior and Kew Gardens (reversed that form next time out) who are some of the well fancied runners so may struggle but seems to hold The Pentagon.

(Shamardal x Hazarafa)
Frankie Dettori and Dermot Weld

👍 Won the Leopardstown Derby Trial last time out beating Delano Roosevelt and The Pentagon. He won on soft ground over a mile.

👎 He doesn’t have any course form and he would prefer harder ground.

4.Kew Gardens
(Galileo x Chelsea Rose)
Donnacha O’Brien and Aidan O’Brien

👍 He has won on soft before and it is likely he will stay.

👎 He couldn’t get past Knight To Behold last time out and is the likely pace maker.

5.Knight To Behold
(Sea The Stars x Angel Of The Gwaun)
Richard Kingscote and Harry Dunlop

👍 Won the Lingfield Derby Trial so won’t have an issue with the trip and it is a positive for him that the ground is drying up. He’s the best each way shot.

👎 He got an easy lead last time out and the Aidan O’Brien horses didn’t fire but they are trained for the big races so might be able to reverse the form.

(New Approach x Khawlah)
William Buick and Charlie Appleby

👍 He was a very impressive winner of the Craven and then was a staying on in the 2000 Guineas.

👎 He ran over one mile one furlongs and was tenth of thirteen. That could put people off as that was the furthest he’s ever ran and he finished so poorly but the ground was fast that day and connections think he will stay and enjoy the cut in the ground.

roaring lion
Roaring Lion


7.Roaring Lion
(Kitten’s Joy x Vionnet)
Oisin Murphy and John Gosden

👍 He won the Dante well and his sire was very good over this trip.

👎 The field he beat was much inferior to him and this looks tougher. Disappointed in both the Craven (won by Masar) and 2000 Guineas (won by Saxon Warrior)

8.Saxon Warrior
(Deep Impact x Maybe)
Ryan Moore and Aidan O’Brien

👍Won the 2000 Guineas and bred to stay. The ground is drying out so that is good for him.

👎 Hard to find one but stall one is a worry.

9.Sevenna Star
(Redoute’s Choice x Sevenna)
Rab Havlin and John Gosden

👍 Soft ground winner and ran well last time out.

👎 This will be very hard for him to win not up to the standard of the others.

10.The Pentagon
(Galileo x Vadawina)
Wayne Lordan and Aidan O’Brien

👍 Won twice on good ground so his chances improve as the ground dries out.

👎Held by Delano Roosevelt and Hazapour last time out.

young rascal
Young Rascal (r) and Dee Ex Bee


11.Young Rascal
(Intello x Rock My Soul)
James Doyle and William Haggas

👍Won the Chester Vase well last time out and last year’s Derby winner last time out. He’ll suit the going. He was also the only horse to go to the Breakfast With The Stars.

👎The Chester Vase isn’t a very strong race and may struggle in this.

(Frankel x Moonlight’s Box)
Padraig Beggy and Aidan O’Brien

👍Was a decent third last time out in the Dante.

👎Worthy outsider. He doesn’t look good enough to win this based on his form.

Samantha’s Selections
SAXON WARRIOR seems the obvious winner and I love the chances of Knight To Behold. His win in the Trial was brilliant.


Oaks Day 2018


By Samantha

Investec Woodcote EBF Stakes

Its The Only Way won his first two starts but then couldn’t handle the step up to Class Two company. Only a nose split him and third placed Marie’s Diamond, who also had to contend with a step up in grade. Mark Johnston’s colt won on debut on heavy going. Cosmic Law came fifth first time but then won nicely next time out. It seems like he prefers good summer ground so he may not be able to get his head in front in this. Usain Boat was second on debut on soft ground and then won cosily over six furlongs last time out. COTUBANAMA won on her second attempt in a conditions stakes on heavy going at Sailsbury. She then couldn’t handle the step up to Listed company at York last time but she is dropped in grade here and looks to have good claims on the soft ground. Mendoza and True Belief are still maidens.

Investec Click and Invest Mile Handicap

A couple of these horses ran in the Spring Mile at Doncaster. HIGH ACCLAIM won and had King’s Pavilion in sixth and Brilliant Vanguard in sixteenth. It was soft going that day and High Acclaim handled it well. Able Jack won his last two and steps up in grade. Medburn Dream is a course and distance winner and has won on soft in the past. He won last time out at Windsor by two and three quarter lengths on firm ground and he may be an each way contender. It also seems as if Masham Star would prefer faster going and Donnacha hasn’t won since 2015. The others haven’t shown much good form recently and King’s Pavilion seems the pick of them.

Investec Coronation Cup

The top two in this, Cracksman and Hawkbill, are two incredibly good horses. CRACKSMAN returned as good as ever in the Prix Ganay at Longchamp and last year’s seven length Champion Stakes winner is likely favourite. Hawkbill is his main opponent. He ran twice over in Meydan in March, winning both. He bolted up in the Sheema Classic last time out and has had a little break since then. He will like the ground and may be worth and each way bet. Idaho won the Ormonde last time out by three and a half lengths over a mile five. He hasn’t won on soft or heavy ground though and doesn’t seem to be as good as the two aforementioned horses. The other three aren’t up to the quality of these three.

ajman king

Investec Wealth and Investment Handicap

Not So Sleepy won this last year but hasn’t won since. Banditry, Dark Red, Brorocco and Ajman King are also course and distance winners. Banditry’s last win came over a longer trip and he has come third and fifth on this ground so that may play against him. Dark Red has been running solid races without winning and his course and distance win came on this going. Brorocco is looking a bit high in the handicap and is hard to catch right. He probably won’t like the going either. AJMAN KING, on the other hand, will like the going and he has won his last three including twice over course and distance so he gets the nod.

Investec Oaks

Please click this link The Oaks 2018 to read our in depth guide to the Oaks shown live on ITV at 16:30.

Investec Surrey Stakes

Aurum was an impressive first time out winner but then couldn’t follow that up in Listed company in the King Charles II Stakes last time out. He has had the least amount of racecourse appearances out of all the runners. Mark Johnston’s two runners are very exposed. Rufus King is my pick of his two runners, as Lake Volta hasn’t won in nine starts. The former won in October in a Nursery but it is unlikely he will like the sticky ground. KING’S SHEILD won his first two and then he was third in the Esher Cup. Connections must hold him in high regard as he ran in the French 2000 Guineas and was unplaced. He doesn’t have any experience on soft ground but he seems a classy horse. Tadbir has a big step up in grade to handle and Arrogant is still a maiden.

ripp orf

Investec Zebra Handicap

RIPP ORF has been so consistent lately. He won the Victoria Cup and was second on soft at the start of the month so that’s encouraging. Black Bees won nicely last time out and has form on soft ground. She has Paddy Bradley on board who takes off 5lbs. Taureen Star won last time out on good to soft and Right Action, who is a soft ground winner, was seventh on that occasion. Clubbable has won her last two and is very consistent so has an each way chance.