Ten to Follow. Mountain can Peak

April 4, 2015
Welcome to my ten to follow for the flat season! I don't know if it's the feeling of a warmer sun on the back, scent of cut grass or just excitement for the season ahead, but I really like the feel of this group of horses this year!

After a 2014 that started well but ended with a frustratingly large number of seconds, a rather more varied collection of horses this year, from potential Group winners to modest handicappers that can nevertheless hopefully pay their way.

At all times the list will remain open to additions and removals. Horses as we all know get injured, disappoint or even surprise. It might be that a horse reaches a mark from which i no longer think it can be competitive and will be removed or replaced... Flexibility is the watchword of any initial list.
Hopefully these will produce more than a few winners along the way! Do remember this is an amateur blog, and there will be days when conditions such as trip, draw etc which simply won't suit and any bets I'm having, or not having, will wherever possible be mentioned on twitter

I'm already keen on one antepost price, if Cougar Mountain turns up for the Lockinge, I'm pretty confident he won't be 33/1, current Ladbrokes price.

COUGAR MOUNTAIN 4yo Colt. Fastnet Rock - Descant (Nureyev) Aidan O'Brien

Hacked up in his maiden last season, before being 'campaigned in the wrong races' (Aidan O'Brien's words). And it's difficult to disagree. 2nd career start was in the July Cup and was a noble fifth, before dropping to 5f of the Nunthorpe and back to 6f again on final run. Did admirably in the circumstances, but I'm sure we'll see a very different campaign this time. Comments indicated we wil see him stepped up to 7f and 8f, and he holds entries in the Gladness Stakes and the Lockinge. Pedigree indicates these would be ideal races and I really hope he comes of age this year. A very exciting horse, probably wants a sound surface, and still has the wedding tackle.
As per above 33/1 e/w for the Lockinge is my first antepost bet from this year's ten to follow list.

CHARLIE BEAR: 3yo Gelding. MyBoyCharlie - Millennium Heiress (Singspiel) Jamie Osborne.

After a quiet introduction at Leopardstown, ran three times at Dundalk. A second to subsequent winner Indian Tomahawk (winner again since) was followed by a facile maiden success before running a massive speed figure on fourth start, in a better race, scoring decisively.
Has since switched to Jamie Osborne, and there should be a good prize either on decent turf ground or on the all weather this summer. Should have no problem staying a mile, already a winner twice at 7 furlongs.

WHAT ABOUT CARLO: 4yo Gelding. Creachadoir - Boccatenera (Artan). Eve Johnson Houghton

After winning at Sandown and Epsom early last season, was probably too highly tried in Premier handicaps and even Listed and Group company. However that experience should stand the gelding in good stead this season and a promising fourth on the opening day in the Lincoln should be built on. First ever run was on quick ground and he hasn't been risked on it since, so should only be considered when the ground is good or easier. 8-10 furlongs looks fine and Eve Johnson Houghton's charge can have a successful campaign. 

LEXINGTON ABBEY 4yo Gelding. Sleeping Indian - Silvereine (Bering). Kevin Ryan

Perhaps the best run from this gelding came in the Ayr Silver Cup last season, when fifth of 26, a fine effort for a 3 year old. A mark of 89 looks workable, and made a fine reappearance when fourth in a big field last week at Doncaster. Has been campaigned exclusively at 5f and 6f, but I can't help feeling Kevin Ryan will step the horse up to 7f at some stage this year. Handles ground from quick to good to soft, and should pay his way in handicaps this year. Don't be put off by just two wins from 15 career starts, I think the best is yet to come.

ONENIGHTIDREAMED 4yo Gelding. FootstepsintheSand - Pivotalia (Pivotal) Tommy Stack

On just fourth career start won the Irish Lincoln, showing a determined attitude, the front pair pulling 5 lengths clear of the third. Trainer has said he will not be risked on quick ground. Stays the mile strongly and could easily emerge as a Cambridgeshire (English or Irish) horse, and black type should certainly not be ruled out.

WORDS 3yo Filly. Dansili - Moonstone (Dalahkani) Aidan O'Brien

Once raced daughter of Dansili, bolting up in a 7f Curragh maiden in a very fast time, a race that has thrown up such a plethora of winners that it was worth following blind for a while. For example the fourth, Qualify, ended up at the Breeders Cup. The filly has Irish Guineas and Irish Oaks entries. She reportedly suffered a setback after the win, but hopefully with a winter on her back she will now develop into a really exciting horse this year. Bred to stay beyond a mile and looking forward to seeing her this season.

ELM PARK 3yo colt. Phoenix Reach - Lady Brora (Dashing Blade) A Balding

Holds Guineas and Derby entries. After running green on debut, reeled off four wins in a row, showing an ability to handle a variety of courses and going, staying a mile stoutly. Questionable whether Andrew Balding's colt will have the turn of foot to win a Guineas (though I will certainly have an interest), however the 14/1 for Epsom looks a lively bet. Gained valuable experience last season, and as long as he has trained on, should be a player at the very highest level.

AETNA 5yo Mare. Indesatchel - On the Brink (Mind Games) Mick Easterby

Sprint bred and enjoyed a progressive year last year, ending with a listed win on bottomless ground at Doncaster. Mick Easterby sent his charge for a Listed race at Cork last weekend with Joseph O'Brien booked a clear statement of intent. However got absolutely murdered in the run and lost all chance, before staying on again late on, and there are races to be won with her. The key does seem to be ease in the ground, so early and late season are the likeliest times to catch her and I think she is set for a very good season. A stiff 6f would pose no problems.

LETTRE DE CACHET 4yo Filly. Authorized - Regrette Rien (Unbridled's Song) Noel Meade

I wanted an unexposed stayer in the Group and I hope Noel Meade's 4yo fits the bill. After a flat campaign last summer with a maiden win on fifth start, was switched to hurdles and ran three times, all three of them in Graded Hurdles. Clearly connections think very highly of her, so if, as I anticipate, she returns to the flat this summer, should mean she has a more than workable flat mark of 81. She has shown form on decent and soft ground, and stays 12 furlongs well, and the win came at 1 mile 5f. Could easily be laid out for a touch somewhere along the line.

FORGOTTEN RULES 5yo Gelding. Nayef - Utterly Heaven (Danehill) Dermot Weld

 Despite just the three runs,following the Group Two Ascot success late last season at 2 miles, already looks a top prospect. All three runs have been wins for Dermot Weld's stayer. Needs a soft surface, and when winning at Ascot, might still have been a touch green when drifting across the track. Undoubtedly more to come and Cup races such as Ascot and Goodwood have been touted. Certainly one to keep onside and should just continue to progress at extreme trips, and at the highest level. Would just caution against antepost bets incase the ground goes against mid summer and is kept for an autumn campaign.

BETS (including antepost) and results.

1) Antepost, Cougar Mountain e/w Ladbrokes 33/1 Lockinge. Added 12 April

Thanks for reading, good luck if you follow any of them! :)

Dubai World Cup Meeting. Fingers Crossed

March 17, 2015
After a really enjoyable Carnival, which wouldn't have been the same without so many kind messages about the blog on twitter and elsewhere, sincere thanks, we move to the ''Finals Night'', an engrossing blend of the best 'local' talent and challengers from around the World, including Japan, USA, UK, South Africa and France. 

The US arm of my twitter timeline have been mainly oozing confidence over the last week or so, seems they have several races, including the finale, in the bag. :) Anyway m...
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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...
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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.


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

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....


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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