FIRST RACE: LETS GO SHAK…..We may not have eaten Apples the other day, but we may still do so today with APPLES SHAKIRA (She could be special!), the Jades full sibling – sourced out by JP McManus from France and from the same yard, family & so on as Apples Jade – “The Shak” was the subject of much attention in the bidding ring and was sought after by all the right names including Rich Ricci who is a self confessed fan of Shakira as he has said a few times or at least once On The Line I think. She hosed up by 8 lengths most recently beating Look My Way who was 8th of 22 in the Fred Winter recently. Before that she beat Nube Negra easily, a winner next time out and a horse who was 3rd to Veneer of Charm himself in the Fred Winter. I think APPLES SHAKIRA should take the beating here as she bids to make it a seventh win in the JCB Triumph Hurdle for top UK trainer Nicky Henderson. The daughter of Saddler Maker has to go right where her sis went wrong, lets go, our last chance of eating apples at Cheltenham!
Sky Bet: Money back if you lose offer worth maxing here. 7/4 (NAP)
2:10 County Hurdle Throwing darts @ the sole 3 runners on a mark of 145
Le Richebourg (28/1) could be a sneaky dart at a massive price. After 3 straight wins and a hat-trick in Ireland, the JP runner was thrown into Grade 1 company on his subsequent (last 3) starts, bumping into the likes of Menghli Khan, Whisky Sour and the second coming of Jesus, Samcro. This son of Network has been assigned a mark of 145 and whilst this is very high, he could get competitive in a race of this nature under Mark Walsh albeit with all his wins coming on good or yielding. Interesting E/W contender for JP & Joseph O’Brien.
SANDSEND (14/1) is the pick of the Mullins horses IMO in the colours of Sullivan Bloodstock Limited. This horse has 131 form figures and has crack Irish jockey Katy Walsh booked. Sandsend is a son of Turgeon who won on debut, came 3rd to Ex Patriot after, and then won most recently. LTO he beat Forge Meadow who won a Grade 3 race after that to frank the form. Forge is a gutsy filly so that was probably a decent run. Again, will need to improve to take one of these, but is interesting for the Irish and for a trainer who has a terrific record in the race, he won it last year with Arctic Fire and in 2015 with Wicklow Brave and also in 2010 and 2011.
The pick of the UK runners for me at the prices obviously is A HARE BREATH (20/1) for Team Pauling. This horse has what it takes to get competitive in a race of this nature were he to put his best foot forward. He was 4th in the Greatwood in late 2016 and has ‘festival’ experience, albeit at the highest level, coming last in the Arkle won by Altior last year. More importantly he is a course and distance winner and he gets crack jock Daryl Jacob up top again, a jockey who is 1 from 1 on board him, and that was the horses last race, a listed contest at Sandown. Could outrun very big odds and represents a sporting E/W chance for the English contingent here.
14.50 Cheltenham: Albert Bartlett
Enniscoffey Oscar (20/1) stayed on well to land a Grade 2 when stepped up to 3m at Doncaster. That was the Albert Bartlett River Don Novices’ Hurdle, the same event that Barters Hill won in 2016 before taking 4th behind Unowhatimeanharry in the Stayers Hurdle the same year. In fact, last year, Constantine Bay won that race that Enniscoffey won and used it as a benchmark to come 4th of 15 to Penhill in this very race. So I do think that Enniscoffey Oscar is interesting on that alone, but more so given the manner of that success. It was one of the finest, most gutsy run ins I have ever seen at Doncaster between this one and Shannon Bridge and Enniscoffey just got his head in front after a great old scrappy duel. Before that he had always shown promise and has often made our write ups. I am not saying that Enniscoffey will win the race, but I am saying that if he was trained by other connections he would almost likely be shorter. 12/1 or so is respectable, but 20/1 might be a bit too much. That said, he does need to prove himself against some seasoned rivals.
1st December write up for Enniscoffey Oscar:
Further to this, whilst lacking the overall class/appeal/attractiveness of a few in the field such as Santini, who are totally unexposed and lightly raced, we have a Grade 1 winner, LTO, running here, called Poetic Rythmn (12/1). Again, an awfully big price for the winner of the Challow despite there being more compeetitive G1’s than the Challow s. That said, Taquin de Seuil 2012-13 (RIP), Denman 2005-6 and Wichita Lineman are some of the winners of this race down the years, and they are all Festival winners too. Poetic Rythmn took part in last years JLT behind Willoughby Court but came ahead of Bacaryds a subsequent G1 winner and Shattered Love, who won yesterday the JLT. He’s only had 3 runs since, winning the G2 Persian War, coming 3rd to On The Blind Side in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle, and then LTO winning the G1 Challow (on heavy). This type of form would put Poetic Rythmn firmly into the picture here IMO and he is worth a sporting E/W chance.
Time to see MIGHT BITE (9/2 – Gold Cup Pick – Equivalent of NAP!) once again – campaigned perfectly to precision for this race exactly, the mad man by Scorpion is a descendant of Alleged who descends from Ribot, a stallion whose temper is said to have reached such fierce levels that no insurance company would offer a policy to cover him when he was due to be shipped back to Europe. He is a win machine and an absolute beast of a horse. Last year he nearly messed it all up by rearing towards the rail massively on the run in and nearly going down to Whisper but his battling qualities shone through and he is unbeaten since.
I would say that Might Bite has a real winning chance, jumps well, stays, and should be a really tough nut to crack under Nico. NATIVE RIVER 3rd last year is obviously the one to fear as he looked spot on recently when re appearing for his spin out, and he has also been campaigned cautiously for this very race. However, he may not possess the outright class of the MIGHT, who is an enigmatic and attractive son of Scorpion who has always been touted as a GC horse.
#TPPTweets below a year to the day saying that Might Bite would win last years race at the Festival (RSA) and would be Hendos best chance of a winner alongside Altior. Further below write ups on MIGHT BITE from recent weeks/months.
4:10 Cheltenham – Foxhunters
16.50 Cheltenham: Martin Pipe – BLOW BY BLOW (14/1) is one of our 15 to follow and it seems a long, long time ago that we were telling you all to watch out for this ex Willie Mullins trained runner who was being kept under wraps by Gordon but had a serious engine. Well he has disappointed for us to be honest but most recently he was back with a big big bang as a Gigginstown outsider of the lot in a Grade 2 race, and that has set him up nicely for a crack at this. Blow By Blow remains interesting by virtue of that unexposed potential he brings to the table and because connections have always though very well of him. A “buzz” horse who should be suited by the race. Again, a sporting each way chance here for Team Gigginstown.
It was back in September that I said: “This horse has serious potential and is one you want to keep on the right side of in the future. The horse has been away for a while, has some nice form in the book and remains one to keep on the right side of this season. I can see this horse going very well this year or next”.
5:30 – THE FINALE – THE GRAND ANNUAL
Valdez (20/1) returned from nearly a million days off (hadn’t run since 2014…) to come last of 3 behind Altior in the e Game Spirit at Newbury. It was Altior easy winner by 4 over Politologue and 13 lengths back to the 25/1 shot re appearing after over a thousand days off the track, which in hindsight, wasn’t bad. Could he be a sneaky, hard to assess from a handicapping perspective, type here? I think so. And remember that for what its worth he was actually a gallant 5th in the ARKLE won by Western Warhorse in 2014, and he also got within a length of WHISPER in another race. All this was years ago now but you can see what I mean regards the horses unknown qualities after such a long time off. King said: “He was bang there and he just clipped heels at four out and was lucky not to come down. Once that happened Wayne (Hutchinson) was easy on him, but if he had ridden him he would have been right up their tails. He has come out of that well and he has been dropped 2lb. I would imagine he would go for the Grand Annual and at the moment I am leaning towards that.” (via RUK). Again, I am not saying that Valdez, with 1 run in 4 years, is going to win – but he is a sneaky dart at a price.
I also have my eye on
Some decent flat racing today. Our last flat NAP was a winner called The Resdev Way who bolted up, and yesterday we sent out a winning exacta (forecast) in the USA as well as Corinthia Knight in France in a listed contest. Hopefully some luck today on the flat.
2:20 Lingfield – On the 7th March I said that that the 3:30 at Lingfield “will turn out to be a very hot maiden in due course and you will see this race produce many a winner” – I also mentioned how “Charlie Appleby has had a fantastic 2018 record brings two here but from uncommon sires for Godolphin; Night Story is by Shamardal and Nordic Lights by Intello” – they both ended up coming 1-2, with Nordic Lights looking above average and given the way that NIGHT STORY (10/11, Flat NAP) made late headway, his future looks just as bright. He is a 500,000 guineas purchase by Shamardal who is a 10th foal and related to winners who have done well – indeed his dam was also a Group 2 winner. Given that late progress and the visual impression we got, the step up a couple of furlongs should suit and should Dalileo not be a mini rocket, we should have this covered. Flat NAP.
4:20 Lingfield – Regina Nostra (6/5, NB) was given a hard introduction to life racing, thrown into the deep end on debut to chase home 1/8 penalty Danzan, and then coming out after that to come 3rd again. The interesting thing is that Regina always showed talent/potential in them starts and it was a case of third time lucky as Regina won well LTO at Wolves over 7furlongs and 36 yards in a Class 5. He is an 8th foal by Pivotal who has a Cheveley Park pedigree and was bred by them and owned by them. He’s raced at Chelmsford, Newcastle and Wolves (won) and now he tackles Lingfield. With the Doyler up top he should take the beating.
Gulfstream R4 – Jorge Navarro takes 2 to the races who have huge claims and stand a very good chance of both making the exacta frame in either order. They are both from same yard and same ownership ones ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr but the one I like is ridden by Jaramillo called Shaft Of Light who is by Smart Strike. Stakes placed & a stakes winner, he comes here after breezing 5f in 58.80 on the 9th March at the track, the fastest of the 13. This horse has credible win claims here today and the Navarro exacta looks OK too.
Santa Anita R5 – Bob Baffert’s non-superstars are normal horses, average, above average, good, generally conistent, but nothing wow arguably. This is the case with Life’s Blessings who is 1 from 6 and hasn’t hit the heights expected of her once. That Tapit-Indian Blessing breeding is fantastic and the daughter of Tapit is a wonderfully looking grey. Tapit is a monster stallion and Indian Blessing was American Champion Two-Year-Old Filly in 2007, the same year she won the BC Juvenile.
You can watch this horse breeze 4 Furlongs in :49.00 at Santa Anita Park on March 7th, 2018 here: https://www.xbtv.com/video/bob-baffert/lifes-blessings-worked-4-furlongs-in-49-00-at-santa-anita-park-on-march-7th-2018/
Santa Anita R7 – Cognitive is listed as reserve, but I really like the Baffert-Juddmonte runner, who despite being beaten at odds on LTO, should be sharper for the experience. Uncle Mo x Dream Sweeper produced this fine looking filly who cost a whopping $500,000 at the sales and who won for us on debut. As I said listed as reserve but if declared for this will be worth a punt.
The one I have my eye on however is a very very interesting horse. She goes by the name of WEST PALM BEACH and she was always going to be USA #stateside bound, being a daughter of the late, great SCAT DADDY & out of a Danehill Dancer mare. Owned by Michael Tabor, the ex Gosden horse came 5th of 13 to Expressiy in October 2017, behind 4 subsequent winners who have all franked the form. Indeed, WEST PALM BEACH herself came out after that race and won her next 2. She is a $347,502 purchase who is gutsy, tough and a typical Scat Daddy runner who represents top connections and has been shipped stateside to the barn of Simon Callaghan, who has a deep connection with Michael Tabor, indeed, he may be Simon’s Godfather if I heard right once when I was in a few racing circles. In fact Michael Tabor still has a picture in his office of Tornado Prince, the first horse he owned, winning a novices’ hurdle at Ascot in 1974, and the trainer was Neville, the father of Simon, who now looks for fame & fortune #stateside & he’s a good trainer too.
Hi all, just some thoughts for todays racing free for all, in the hope we can get some gravy for Cheltenham going. Also will add USA later for all. Also, here’s a link to a blog I wrote for members a few weeks back regard some NRNB Ante post punts for the Festival, feel free to have a read: https://thepuntersguru.wordpress.com/2018/02/26/cheltenham-nrnb-ante-post-punts/
If you wish to get involved before, or after Cheltenham, simply DM the pal on @the_daily_bets – good luck all, and lets give it to em’!
1:50 Sandown – INDIAN HAWK has been very good to us and is a horse with a bright future. Members will know how much of a fan I am of these types of Munir/Suede horse and Indian Hawk is a really interesting one – he bombed out of the G2 Albert Bartlett River Don Novices’ Hurdle at Doncaster in last as the favourite, but them Enniscoffey Oscar types are gutsy, game, more experienced, way more experienced IMO. So after that race The Hawk came back with a bang as our NAP to win a hurdles race by 5 lengths over 2m3f. When he won on debut it was slightly over further, 2m5f, but he did it by 8. So the horse can win. He’s on my notebook & tracker list and once again connections see fit to up him in to graded company once again. They will expect a bigger run and this horse, owned by Munir/Suede, has a chance to prove he’s a very good horse here. Has made it on to my notebook before and here we are, lets see you Hawk.
14.25 Sandown: Imperial Cup – A nice big race this – CALL ME LORD – Unbeaten in two starts on the course, Daryl Jacob’s ride was an impressive winner LTO under a similar burden where, travelling smoothly all the way, exerted and comfortably beat the hitherto progressive Our Merlin, who was on form. CALL ME LORD is an interesting contender here in this Imperial Cup and should be on the premises. His LTO 3rd to ELGIN in the Kingwell Hurdle reads very very well, and its fascinating to see how we were against CML there and were firmly with ELGIN, who had all the form in the book to be a worthy favourite, let alone a 7/1 3rd fav! However, Elgin won well and Call me Lord, who was disputing favouritism with Ch’itibello, actually ran very well too for a lightly raced gelding. I think that LTO formline is very interesting and this Imperial Cup, whilst competitive, is not the ‘deepest’. He ran respectable in the Kingwell G2 LTO and drops back in grade to a big field G3, albeit on a track and trip that should suit, so at 15/2, and SKY going 5 places, the LORD is a play e/w.
3:00 Sandown – Whilst most horses come here for their 2nd, 3rd starts after promising debuts in average bumpers, they do genuinely possess enough unknown ability and for all we know any one of them could be good. It is a deep race and theres plenty of research to be done if you are hunting that elusive each way bet here, however, the odds on POSH TRISH are generous and this horse, with the most experience in the field, can put that to good use versus more lightly raced and less experienced types. She is already a listed, black type winner and has won at Aintree and Cheltenham this season. Her only loss has come in what I have dubbed the most competitive bumper of the season, the race won by Didtheyleaveuoutto on his recent start. It was very tough and very competitive, many a winner will come out of it. The horse is working well, will appreciate conditions and there is confidence she will show her best form.
SOLE IRISH PUNT
It is not often you see a Group 1 winner on the flat go hurdling and even win hurdling. There are weird instances of this happening here and there however. 1961 St Leger winner Aurelius was infertile at stud and subsequently had a fairly successful time as a jumper after being gelded.There have been 2 Arc winners to run over hurdles: Motrico, switched from obstacles to win at Longchamp in 1930 & ’32, also Le Paillon finished 2nd in the 1947 Champion Hurdle to National Spirit before his big race success. We speak of these facts because EPICURUS (5/2) has his “last chance saloon” for me today, running in what is a weak race on his 3rd Irish start, and this very talented flat performer, who was 5th in Golden Horns Derby itself, should go close. Beaten a mile LTO by Cartwright a fellow flat performer for Prescott who seems progressive and missed black type (G2 placed) LTO by a neck. Epicurus should go well today and has a whole host of entries at Cheltenham but will almost certainly bypass them as he just isn’t at the level for now you might think, perhaps if he had proved himself earlier, yes, but this is his chances to prove himself, perhaps with a view to run in a few nice races further down the line. Early days hurdling but needs to get on the scoresheet here.
ERTIJAAL is a sprint King and should be very tough to beat under Jim. They are trying to find ways to get this good thing beat; saying draw, trip etc might not suit, and whilst I take all of them into consideration, this horse is the best in the field here. It’s a quick turnaround after he bolted up LTO as our #TPPNap, but can he do it again? He would really cement his position as one of the top global sprinters were this to happen.
It’s a similar kind of story to last time..January write up below….
ERTIJAAL comes from the Golden Generation…
BENBATL, the Epsom Derby 5th of 16 and the consistent, gutsy, very very well regarded Godolphin horse, should make a bold bid to get the hat-trick here. This classy animal has been tipped out by #TPP the last twice, on both his UAE starts, and have put our faith in him and he has delivered, so we will do the same again here. Benbatl has bags of untapped potential and yes, whilst this is a super tough heat, I believe that connections and especially Oisin firmly believe this is a G1 animal.
Jan 11th: Benbatl write up
Feb 1st: Benbatl write up
At the prices, lets take a risk and say BENBATL @ 6/4 is the “MEYDAN NAP”, however, I would also put ERTIJAAL in to the same category as this beast, as he really should not be getting beat. Benbatl is a friendlier price in his race though, so lets try give it to em’ with the Derby 5th…
8:15 Chelmsford – I do think BRODERIE (5/4 FLAT NAP – SOLE FLAT PUNT – TEMPTED TO SUPER NAP) will probably win this race and will be hard to beat, based primarily on a visually and statistically impressive debut race where the horse, with a word on the blog from TPP, surged clear to win by 2 lengths. The Pivotal fillyis out of a Hard Spun mare and was working well at home before turning up at Lingfield and winning well. The 2nd that day, the favourite, won of 78 a month later to “frank the form”. I think Broderie is above average and whilst I do fear the 2F who got chinned by West Palm Beach on debut, Broderie did look pretty decent recently, and is worth sticking with again. The horse has an interesting pedigree also and looks set for further success down the line.
22:00 SANTA ANITA – I am surprised to see that WORLD APPROVAL (SUPER NAP #STATESIDE STYLE) has opened up at 4/5 on Sky Bet, as I do think World Approval is one of the best horses around in the USA in the mile division ,as best seen by his demolition job in the Breeders Cup – as our NAP – versus the likes of Ribchester & co. The grey beast is Tepin 2.0. He is Casse’s pride & joy and he will not want to get this beast beaten today. Quite the contrary; the beast will be ridden, you would like to think, to WIN – and win well. On the 7th November 2017 I said “2 months ago told members World Approval was being aimed as Tepin 2.0 now they speaking about this on RuK last 10mins
#TPP1StepAhead“. I hope he really delivers.
THROWBACK to the BC, sent in by a member. 1-2-3 #boom!
SOLE TAMPA PUNT, R6 —-> GIDU @ 6/4 TAMPA BAY DOWNS NAP #FrankelFactor for the ZAYATS, boy could this horse be special! Pletcher sends the pocket rocket to Tampa on a busy day to gain more experience and that’s exactly what he will get here. A G3 runner up LTO he should have too much for these and the price is generous too. I tipped this horse out on the 23rd of December and have followed him ever since and indeed long before that (write up below). The $457,683 purchase arrives here after a BULLET BREEZE, top ranking, 1st of 26, 4f in 48.72, just a week ago.
R2 SANTA ANITA – Whilst there are some rave reviews for McKale do not dismiss SUPER SOL for the Zayat contingent. This is the McKinzie colours vs the Solomini ones and boy did that race finish in style when they met, so lets hope these 2 good things can fight it out. Super Sol has some very very nice breezing stats to his name however and as per Justin Zayats twitter etc the horse is working well at home. On Feb 26th he said: “Super sol. 46.4 fur out in 59.4. Nice! Just cruising like Baffert love saying. Can’t wait” – so the vibe is positive, they like this one. Super Sol (Awesome Again – Kiss the Lady) also worked 47.60 (2/36) at Santa Anita just over 2 weeks ago and looks primed for a big run on debut. I am told this horse could be very good and its interesting to see how he fares in comparison to McKale.
10:30 Santa Anita – Bolt d’Oro (2/1) is, for TPP, a better horse than Mckinzie. This is a bold statement to make but physically and visually one would prefer to ‘own’ Bolt than Mc, that is the consensus in American racing circles you could say, yet McKinzie is the favourite…I think that Bolt, who since his infancy was showing signs of potential greatness (see: ) , will be very tough to beat if given a good ride today. The reason I mention this is because he was taken to the beaches by Nakatani LTO. Bolt d’Oro won the Del Mar Futurity. He won the Frontrunner at Santa Anita by nearly 8L. Then he was favored to win the BC Juvenile at Del Mar in November but took the Nakatani-led wide route vis the beach and was beaten by Good Magic & Solomini. Today the BOLT by Megdalia d’Oro has a chance to prove that he is the
#RealDeal, and he can scoot past Mckinzie who, while no pushover, doesn’t possess the attractiveness of the Bolt. We are with the 2F. #FeelTheBolt – THE RATIONALE: by. If the real Bolt d’Oro of his 2 year old days turns up here at the 400k San Felipe rain or shine it will be a battle of Mckinzie of now vs the brilliance Bolt d’Oro showed us in the Del Mar Futurity and the Front Runner and yes folks let’s not forget Bolt d’Oro clobbered Solomini during the Front Runner. Solomini if not for a disqualification at the Los Alamitos Futurity beat Mckinzie.
R8 SANTA ANITA – LEXINGTON GRACE (11/2) is a name that will ring many a bell for us UK flat folks, as this ex Middleham runner was trained by Richard Hannon when in the UK and signed off his UK career by taking a 20 runner handicap in fine style. He wasn’t rated that highly but he never got to show it, and was since shipped off after that, out to the USA, to the Ian Krujlac yard. Encouragingly for my eye the horse was 4th of 12 LTO in a super tough race won by yes Daddy Is A Legend and it was a competitive heat IMO. Given it was the Sir Prancelot runners first U.S start he is entitled to build on that with Javier up top.