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 top billing.
Hunting Ground also made an eyecatching impression and will be interesting contesting Carnival handicaps in coming weeks, for which the ex'Mark Johnston inmate will now be qualified. 
Tamarkuz did pay a handsome tribute to his previous conqueror, Faulkner, who must also be worth a look next time.

Do please remember before I dive into this week's races, that this is an amateur blog.

Our one bright spot last week was 'Best of the Rest' nominee Beat Baby's emphatic all the way success in the opener at a rewarding 12/1 (overnight) 10/1sp, travelled like the winner throughout, having blitzed the field in the first half of the contest was entitled to finish a bit tired.

The second, Speed Hawk, was the only one who got close, travelling all over the winner to the furlong pole before also getting tired. Dropped to the more suitable minimum trip this week, certainly catches my eye.
People might seek to oppose the front two next time on account of slow finishing sectionals, but that ignores the fact they had the rest of a fairly decent field burnt off a long way from home, in a sprint. Impressive stuff.

Incidentally if anyone knows how EU citizens can bet into the commingled Tote on the Carnival, please let @oumemoires know! it seems to be one of life's great mysteries after many of us have asked the question on twitter to no avail.
Not my type of bet personally, but asking on behalf a twitter enthusiast.

For e/w backers, Ladbrokes, Skybet and Bet365 went 1/4 odds on all races last week, and hopefully will do throughout the Carnival


Three fancies again this week, and so I'll be looking at singles and an e/w treble.

Several races look like duels, particularly the 5.40.

5.05. 7F DIRT

Although behind a couple of these here a fortnight ago at 6f RUSSIAN SOUL e/w had a decent excuse, having given the entire field some 10 lengths from the stalls and 5th was a decent performance in the circumstances. Unlike United Colours, the selection has also won at this 7f trip and beyond in the past. Has finished in the frame in an admirable 22 of 32 starts, including in Group Company, and being a dual Group Three winner in the past, dropped into handicap company now can take advantage.
The worry is that slow starts have become a bit of a habit, (often led to post these days) but 7f does give longer for recovery if it does happen. 
Free Wheeling is a tough reliable performer at this level, but the fact that the 7year old Ad Valorem gelding is joint topweight tells you plenty about the standard of the race. Muannid's third to ReynaldotheWizard merits respect, but the selection at best is better than these and should make the frame at least.


One of the bets of the night has to be HUNTER'S LIGHT e/w. Has won two Group Ones and two Group Twos in his career and bizarrely has never run in a handicap (two maidens at the start of his career). Despite a poor draw in 13 and lack of a recent run, as well as a losing run of seven, I've no hesitation in believing this class drop will make the difference.
A 7yo making handicap debut on 25th start must be a collector's item (two runs in maidens followed by 22 in Listed and Group company).

Mushreq, a polite second to True Story here last time, is another down in grade, but when Hunters Light produced lightning closing 400 metres in routing Surfer in a Group One in 2013, Mushreq was 7 lengths behind, and is only 1lb better off here.
Any forecast lovers could do worse than a reverse forecast here.
I do have a soft spot for Almoonqith, now twice a blog winner, and on turf a valid contender here at least for place money receiving 11lbs from the selection. We have yet to see the best of this horse.

HaafaGuinea is third in at the weights, a game handicap winner last time (Elleval behind) but this is a totally different ask.

2.45. 9.5f Dirt

I'm Back had looked progressive throughout the first six runs of his career, three wins and then a fine second on the Tapeta here behind Soft Falling Rain, but rather lost his way thereafter until coming from a long way behind to score here last time, when defeating the fair yardstick Henry Clay. Up 5lbs for that, has a good chance to follow up in a fairly moderate contest, but Storm Belt beat the same rival much more decisively, and was a respectable fourth here last time. 
Corso Como is a possible improver at the bottom of the weights but Busker was disappointing here after a promising effort two outings ago, while topwweight.
Giftorm's fourth to Faulkner merits respect, and the step up in trip should pose no problems.

However they'll all have to go some to beat ARTIGIANO e/w (NAP).. Close seconds to Steeler and Olympic Glory as a 2yo on the cv and a Listed third to subsequent Group winner Mushreq, any of which would be plenty good enough, and the assessor has taken a risk giving such a horse a mark of 105.
This is typical in my opinion of the type of horse Charlie Appleby can restore to his best, and often he has them ready to roll first time out. Furthermore, the stoutly bred American horse I suspect will relish the surface and can benefit from a trip his pedigree suggests he has been crying out for. 

As we've seen Adam Kirby is superb from the front on all weather surfaces in England, and if he chooses to make the running, stack them up and kick off the bend, class can tell.


3.20. 5f Turf.

Medicean Man was something of a blog hero last year, winning twice here for us, but missed a recent engagement at Lingfield due to a minor setback, so is passed over this time.
Jamesie had a super year in 2014, both here and in Ireland, including a Group Three success. Ahtoug was a decent sixth here on the opening night behind Hototo and should come on for that, however a couple of lengths behind there was SPEED HAWK e/w; the latter ran a fine second over a furlong further last week, and didn't quite get the trip, but with the extra sharpener under his belt, can reverse form.
A small e/w selection.

3.55. 1 Mile Dirt

A case of FILFIL your boots? I wouldn't go that far, but this horse seems to have improved a stone or more for the surface with two decisive successes, and can go in again. Pit Stop looked badly in need of the run last week, a big awkward horse, but clearly with ability, and made the running for a long way over a longer trip before fading tamely. Still likely to need this, while Need to Know is a quirky character, so it might be left to the lightly raced Alareef to be the biggest threat. Mike De Kock's charge is the subject of a decent write up on his website ('big player') and can give the selection most to do, but did look one paced in a modest enough grade on reappearance and will have to have come on a bunch to figure. 

One Man Band is only a 4yo so still entitled to progress from a nice win last time out.

5.40 9F TURF

TRUE STORY won in the style of a very exciting, progressive horse, here on the opening night. It was a fabulous performance and a repeat must see this German bred gelding go very close. He's only getting 1lb though from Vercingtoix and that emphasises the size of the task. but with the latter 'a lazy worker; according to his handler, we're having to take fitness on trust and that's the big question of course, however beat the rest comfortably when a fine 2nd to Just A Way in the Dubai Duty Free on finals night and that sets True Story a mighty standard to aim at.
All things considered the latter's comfortable defeat of fine yardstick Mushreq means we know he loves the surface and with fewer questions to answer, recency bias earns him the vote.

In this small field, if everyone plays jockeys, I can see Mr Pommeroy making a bid for glory off the home turn, and though it's a big step up from the 2nd to HaafaGuinea, might take some pegging back, especially if Mr Barzalona keeps a hold of his whip this time! Mubtaahij did win this race last year, but this renewal is light years tougher.

Sociologa Inc represents apparently high class form, but is very hard to assess from a different jurisdiction and might find two Meydan specialists having too much at this stage of the Carnival, while Sanshaawes is a decent horse in his own right too, though at this stage this standard might just stretch the horse..


I didn't think I'd be leaving the group Two Cape Verdi to last, a presitigious and valuable contest, but just eight runners, of dubious standard, and a possible tactical race (crawl!) into the bargain. Don't be surprised if there's a boil-over 33/1 winner, Zurigha 8th of 10 last week, behind Umgiyo, but never really put into the race, with Richard Hughes taking over from Pat Dobbs is interesting, I presume this was the target and it wouldn't be a surprise if the Cape Cross mare won. 
Slipper Orchid is a pretty honest performer at the right level, while there might be more to come from Energia Fribby, but
I'll take a chance with WEE JEAN. A perennial front runner and if granted a soft lead, she might just nick this.
Third in a Group One beaten just 2 lengths when last seen at Leopardstown, a repetition might just be good enough.

Oh Star is the other pace angle I think, but the yard's runners have shown precious little recently, though to be completely fair, perhaps that is because they were largely unfancied, while Cladocera represents powerful connections and the 2nd at Kempton was an interesting route to take, but the form of that race looks pretty suspect.

Racebets have put the selection in at 13/2 and that's fair e/w, given the likely tempo of the race.

MAIN BETS: updated with first prices from Paddy Power / Hills

Singles, E/W Treble: An e/w day.

2.45 Artigiano. NAP e/w 6/1 Paddy Power; Morning Edit 11/2 Corals best for now.
5.05 Russian Soul e/w 8/1 Hills
6.15 Hunters Light NB e/w 8/1 PP.
11/2 Corals morning best. 8/1 to be fair, win or lose today, was just Wrong. Hope one or two of you got on though! :)

Best of the Rest

3.55 Filfil 9/2 Hills.

Good Luck as always, everyone. As ever, am keeping faith in the formbook, still over the long haul our best friend!

Thanks as ever for your time, let's hope for an exciting day. Really looking forward to that clash between Vercingetorix and True Story!

PS: Last week's PS was of course a 'non-runner' with the whole meeting postponed...
....Two weeks ago, Almoonqith (well worth his try at the Carnival this week on turf this time) was a winner for this spot, and there's another undercard this Saturday. GENIUS BOY was second in that race off a break, having had a decent go at making all, can gain compensation this time. Ran up a four timer in the summer before being too highly tried. He is the PS nominee of the week.
State Law e/w in another support race would also be worth a little look.