Super Saturday. De Kock Up....

March 2, 2015
....Well, you know what I mean :)

First and most important, many thanks to all who have popped in during the Carnival to look at the blog, whether once or regularly. And hopefully we've had a bit of fun, as well as a winner or three along the way.

The sad demise of Cavalryman was surely the lowest point, not of course from a punting angle, but just pure sadness at the loss of a true warrior. 10 wins including four Group Twos, a Group One and placed in an Arc. If ever the racing cliche 'he didn't deserve that' was appropriate, this was it. RIP.

A solid winning Nap for the blog last Saturday in the shape of Jeeraan, available at 5/2 overnight and much of the morning, who should make a full Carnival horse next year. Nolohay was hardly a confident selection, but a winner at least, while Ennobled Friend ran into a somewhat unlikely one in the shape of Heavy Metal, beating the rest decisively.

SUPER SATURDAY

A card that divides into two, with four low key races to start, and four superb contests to close the card. The first is the Arab race, which I leave to others, but then it's into the seven thoroughbred races.

9.5 FURLONGS; DIRT. LISTED.

Red faces all round as this race was re-opened after attracting just four entries on Monday. Bolstered to 7 by Tuesday, but hardly more competitive and it looks to lie between the exciting Uruguayan import, Sir Fever, and Mike De Kock's MUBTAAHIJ.

It could easily be that I'll be holding my hands up after and saying 'Too Good', about Sir Fever. 10 out of 10 in his native Uruguay, has all the appearance of a Dirt Monster. Must be far and away the best hope so far of a Charlie Appleby dirt winner this Carnival, however I hope the recent local form of Mubtaahij will prove just strong enough. 

The Appleby runner has hardly come off the bridle in recent runs and I think, in receipt of 10lbs, Mubtaahij will more than do that here and he can turn over the likely favourite. Ajwad was well behind the selection last time, but looks best of the rest.

6F DIRT GROUP THREE

Krypton Factor has the best recent form, a fine neck second to Reynaldo the Wizard, off a break. Not sure I'd trust the horse though to reproduce that effort, but i did love the way that when Speed Hawk came to his quarters, he quickened again, but Reynaldo racing wider just picked up sufficiently. Just 1 from 16 since 2012, but deeply respected.

Price is Truth won a poor race last week here, while Cool Cowboy is an interesting newcomer for Doug Watson.
No worries about Watson's ability to ready one first time out, and this front running dirt specialist is respected, but MASHAAREF e/w is in the form of his life, chinning Roi De Vitesse on an 'undercard' before scoring impressively here last week in a stronger race, can go in again. From a middle draw Dane O'Neill will be able to decide where he wants to race and tough to see this one out of the frame at worst.

Farmah is top rated and actually receiving weight, but her form is in what I just suspect were soft races for the Grades and the rest don't look good enough.

Not one of my stronger bets on the card though.

5F TURF GROUP THREE

VIA AFRICA arrives here with a big reputation, is very pacey and has a good record fresh. Sole Power will be favourite, but often needs an outing or two to be at his best and no doubt with a European campaign in mind, looks a favourite to take on despite being a proven Group One performer. Caspian Prince landed something of a surprise win here last time, (Banadeer an eyecatcher in behind but could reverse the form) while Ahtoug got up to win on his last outing but is drawn out on the wing here.
 
Moviesta has some decent form at the top table and could make the frame at a decent price.

8F DIRT GROUP THREE

TAMARKUZ will be hard, indeed almost impossible, to beat if turning up in the same form as his last two wins here, absolutely knocking the eye out last time when sluicing up and looking every inch a dirt Champion. 

It's probably absolute folly to take him on, however last season he did send Paul Hanagan over the rail when drawn one, and while that is likely to prove the perfect scenario here, he can boil over in preliminaries and if missing the kick, it might just be a different story.

Second to him last time, when having nil chance from the rear, was GOLD CITY (e/w) and he is a value suggestion as an e/w option instead, or as well as the favourite.  Has fine form behind the likes of Surfer and Variety Club. He's probably run into another one here, but should at least make the frame, and if Layl can get over from stall 10, he could give Tamarkuz unexpected grief up front.

Of the remainder, Pylon hasn't yet won in Group class in South Africa and could be too short in the market.

12F+ TURF GROUP TWO

A really good Group Two here. True Story absolutely bolted up here in January but was then brushed aside by Vercingetorix next time, but had the rest nicely beaten off, and I'm surprised doesn't head the early market for this. Looked a real galloper at the shorter trip and this step up should suit, given a stamina laden middle/long distance pedigree. Can be a buzzy horse though and that would not help his cause for getting the trip if that happens again here, but I think he has the potential to emerge as a staying Cup horse in future..

Arguably the likeliest winner, but I'm just going to have a little e/w saver on True Story, while putting up a value Nap against the horse.

Mickdaam is the mount of Christophe Soumillon and should come on for his run behind Famous Kid, and has a Group Three win in the past, but this looks tougher. Songcraft won a handicap here off 102 (pair clear) impressively and could be dangerous if geting a soft lead, while Sky Hunter and Cooptado are others with possibilities.

But the vote goes to UMGIYO e/w (NAP) who showed a blistering turn of foot and produced superb sectionals from last to first when winning here on reappearance before running into proven multiple Group winner Hunter's Light. Kept on really strongly in second. This is a new trip but as we saw with Almoonqith last week, Mike De Kock knows the time of day when stepping one up and with Rainbow Quest in the pedigree, and digging deeper there's plenty of stamina on the dam's side for this rapidly progressive 5 year old.

3.30 10F DIRT GROUP ONE

African Story loathed the dirt last time and has to be passed over here. He renews rivalries with PRINCE BISHOP who was a fast finishing second to the racefit FrankyfourFingers last time. Henry Clay might well hassle Franky for the lead but looks outclassed and the best of the rest is probably the dependable Storm Belt who has verdicts over several of these. Has a solid chance of making the frame.
Long River brings credible American form into the race, behind Tonalist and then Pick of the Litter. No lasix here of course might be a disadvantage, but the horse should go well enough without troubling the principals.

4.05 9F TURF GROUP ONE

On paper a good looking race, but for me only two count VERCINGETORIX is fancied to get the better of Hunter's Light. The latter looked to be on the wane last year, but dropped into handicap company for reappearance absolutely bolted up here, and then followed up at the expense of the progressive Umgiyo in a Listed contest last time. But he's at the top table now and the selection is one of the strongest fancies on the card.

Brushed aside previous winner True Story last time, in what barely looked a racecourse gallop, and his second on World Cup night last year to Just a Way with the rest beaten out of sight should prove the decisive formline. 
The rest are good handicappers and Listed types but he can't be opposed imho, and at the time of typing even the 5/4 with Paddy Power can be taken.

THE ALL IMPORTANT BETS:

Before I put up mine, I honestly could not put people off a likely favourites multiple (excluding Sir Fever)

MAIN BETS. EARLY PRICES ADDED.

E/W SINGLE:

2.55 UMGIYO e/w (NAP) 8/1 Paddy Power

Win Singles, E/W Treble: Successful Treble would pay about 13/1.

2.55 Tamarkuz 11/10 Paddy Power
3.30 Prince Bishop 2/1 Paddy Power
4.05 Vercingetorix (NB) 5/4 Paddy Power

OTHERS. A few extras seeing it's the second most important meeting of their season!

Bigger prices but smaller bets for me. Bit of a one-off!
E/W Lucky 15 with Paddy Power:

1.10 Mashaaref e/w 7/1
1.45 Via Africa e/w 9/2
2.20 Gold City e/w 10/1
2.55 True Story e/w 4/1 

Small Win Single:

12.35 Mubtaahij 2/1 Skybet.

A 21 day break after this meeting, but I'll be back with a blog for Finals night, and thanks again for your support!

PS: Roi De Francs, currently 6/1 (Non Runner No Bet) is my only antepost bet of the Cheltenham Festival, got a mark of 139 for the Martin Pipe Conditional on Friday, despite having a Grade 3 win in Ireland. Handicap snip imho.
 

Meydan preview 28/2. Cheer for Jeer

February 26, 2015
Not my best header admittedly, :) but pretty much straight to the chase for the final Carnival card, ahead of Super Saturday next week. It's a mix of fairly average Carnival horses and some slightly sub-Carnival standard events, but winners to be found nonetheless and one Very Strong fancy.

Thursday was a semi-decent day, Flying the Flag winning at 7/1 (6/1sp) but too many placed rather than winning, including the Nap.
The Appleby debate continues apace. Safety Check did win for Charlie Appleb...
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Meydan 26/2. Flagbearer

February 20, 2015
The Carnival continues apace, and we might not see too many of the big guns between now and Super Saturday, but plenty exciting fare still on show.

Just a 'stat for starters'. Charlie Appleby's last nine runners over the last two Thursdays have been beaten over 192 lengths. Ouch. Last year they all fell away after first runs, and the pattern is in danger of repeating. Safety Check did buck the trend earlier this month by doubling up, but precious little sign of positivity elsewhere.

TWO Carniva...
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Meydan 19/2. Hot to Trot

February 13, 2015
Probably charitable to suggest that last week was a mixed bag, not great, though two winners (Reynaldo and Tamarkuz) and an e/w third (Elleval) from the selections. With the Nap and NB both failing to make the frame, it certainly wasn't what I was hoping for in truth, but at least progress, after the week before's first blank of the Carnival.

AS EVER, SELECTIONS NEAR THE BOTTOM IF YOU WANT TO SKIP THE WEEKLY WAFFLE :)

Once again, despite three close finishes on the dirt, as suggested only a few...
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Meydan Preview 12/2. Lion to Bewitch

February 6, 2015
If you're still here after last week's carnage, thank you. Obviously a very disappointing day, but I suppose it was bound to happen after four decent weeks. Nevertheless must try harder.

Selections near the bottom, as ever, but a different shape to this week's card, hence a one-off new betting strategy this week.

Of the selections, African Story didn't like the surface and the naysayers were correct, hold my hands up, took a view and got it wrong. Frankyfourfingers was something of a revelation...
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Meydan preview 5/2/15. On Safari.

January 30, 2015
AS EVER, SELECTIONS NEAR THE BOTTOM FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO SKIP THE BLURB! :)

For much of last Thursday it looked like a disappointing day for your blogger. The Nap Artigiano did rescue the e/w money in the opener, but in the next I put up a horse that finished behind Ahtoug last time, and with the latter winning was kicking myself. Then Filfil was nutted on the post, having seemingly just about mastered the game winner One Man Band. Later, True Story was to be second to Vercingetorix (what was...
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Meydan Preview 29/1. Treasure Hunt

January 26, 2015
After two successful weeks, week three of the Carnival was a largely frustrating day for the blog, but it wasn't all bad news....

BETS NEAR BOTTOM OF ARTICLE IF YOU WANT TO SWERVE THE PADDING! :)

The three main selections produced two seconds and an unplaced, and while many will take Tamarkuz as their horse of the week, I think Umgiyo, who covered the last 400 metres in 23.61 (courtesy of @Trakusracing data), about 0.8 of a second faster than any other horse on the day, on the dirt, deserves t...
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Meydan 22/1/15. Hats Off!

January 19, 2015
Big news from the desert this week  - Yes, it rained! :) And, somewhere between scraping ice from the windows and tightly clutching a warm mug of coffee to thaw out, my heart may have momentarily bled for those who were suffering 30c, and as they were quick to tell us on twitter, and, oh my sainted aunt, imagine it, poor souls... rain! But if my heart did bleed, I may have missed it... :)

Of course the implication is that it might reduce the kickback this week in the four dirt races (which, ha...
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Meydan 15/1/15. Energia aims for Summit

January 12, 2015
INTRO:

SELECTIONS AT BOTTOM IF YOU WANT TO SKIP THE WAFFLE! :)

First a big thank you for all the kind comments last week on twitter and elsewhere, and a record number of blog hits too. Without your visits there would be no blog - and whether occasional, regular or new visitor you are all of course equally appreciated! Thanks.

A winning Nap always helps, and last week saw the blog get off to a  decent start with two of the three main selections winning. Nap selection Faulkner took the plaudits at...
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Carnival Time! 8/1/15 Surfer can Net prize

January 6, 2015
Here at last! Red letter day on Thursday for the new surface as the new season of the Meydan Carnival gets underway. The blog will return with weekly previews for Meydan, not bets in every race (three selections on day one) but certainly attempting to find a few winners! Very excited to have it back to get me warmed up during what can be very quiet domestic midweek fare in January and February.

The first two or three weeks simply demand caution as there's always a lot of guesswork involved. DO...
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