stodge

Members
  • Posts

    1,971
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    28

stodge last won the day on June 25

stodge had the most liked content!

1 Follower

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

stodge's Achievements

Open Class - R121

Open Class - R121 (4/4)

2.1k

Reputation

  1. Japan is a hugely successful racing jurisdiction - the amounts of prize money and betting turnover are extraordinary. From what little I know of it, however, it's a two-tier set up. The JRA covers the main weekend meetings and all the big races but you also have the NAR meetings at the smaller courses - these are basically racecourses run by the local authority and these stage the midweek meetings. The authority runs the race meetings but they all sit under the NAR (National Association of Racing). The JRA is a public company with the remit to run the big meetings but they also run betting and training facilities and perform the regulatory function. It's different to France or the UK or Hong Kong. I've said this before to you all but the first question you have to answer before you can move forward is who owns the product? In the UK, we have a triumvirate - the bookmakers, the racecourses and the Horsemen (Owners, Trainers, Jockeys) with the British Horseracing Authority as the regulatory body. The courses own the product and sell it to the bookies via the media rights deal while the bookies get income from streaming races and of course from punters. I think what NZ needs to do is borrow what will work for you from other jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction has had to evolve its operating model to fit its circumstances.
  2. Time to look back at the weekend just gone in Europe. It was a day more of quantity than quality in England with Newbury staging a weak feature card. That said, the Group 3 Hackwood over 1200m only muddied the sprinting waters further. A week after the 3-y-o sprinters had been put to the sword in the July Cup, the younger horses got their revenge as ELITE STATUS beat Commonwealth Cup runner up LAKE FOREST. The winner had won a Listed over course and distance so this was a step forward but he took some notable scalps. The second ran as though an extra 200m would help while race favourite REGIONAL, who had missed Newmarket because of the quick ground, was only fourth. REGIONAL had chased home ASFOORA in the King Charles III and it looked as though he didn't quite get home off what I thought was a strong enough gallop. The second and third furlongs were both sub 11 seconds. The Commonwealth Cup runner up ran better than INISHERIN, the winner, had at Newmarket so as I say, colour me confused. Over in Ireland, the feature was the Irish Oaks over 2400m and the question seemed to be whether Ryan Moore had chosen right in picking CONTENT over PORT FAIRY: Ryan Moore has ridden many fine races - this wasn't one of them. He was a long way back on CONTENT, got hampered on the home turn and then had to weve through traffic by which time YOU GOT TO ME Had flown. In the first time tongue strap, the winner made amends for a fourth place at Epsom (when carrying my each way money) and a more disapppointing fourth in the Ribblesdale. She reversed the Ascot form comprehensively with PORT FAIRY who was up front with RUBIES ARE RED but the pair went too hard and ended up in the last two places. It all got a bit congested 500m down as the pace collapsed up front. PURPLE LILY was prominent throughout but had to settle for third as CONTENT took second in the final 100m. I thought ELIZABETH LAKE ran well for Dermot Weld and a word also for HANALIA on just her fourth run - one to follow. The winner is 10s for the Yorkshire Oaks next month. The second has obvious talent but needs a bit more luck. They ran 2 minutes 32.61 seconds which was a decent time (fractionally below Standard). The supporting Group 2 Sapphire saw an easy win for BELIEVING who was always prominent and was simply too good. She's 3s for the King George at Goodwood next week where she might meet ASFOORA and 10s for the Nunthorps. This will have given her confidence a real boost and it'll be fascinating to see how she goes back at the top level. The Group 2 Curragh Cup saw a remarkable performance from TOWER OF LONDON who cut down his stable companion GROSVENOR SQUARE having been 15 lengths behind with 400m to go. The first two finished seven lengths ahead of VAUBAN who for me isn't the horse he was before Flemington. Speaking of that 2-mile handicap in November, Aidan O'Brien in the post race interview hinted both the winner and second might head to Melbourne. GROSVENOR SQUARE improved markedly for the step up in trip and 3200m will be no problem. The winner is an experienced international traveller and were he to go on the plane to Australia would go with real claims. I wonder if I saw next year's Derby winner in the opening 1400m maiden as THE LION IN WINTER (Sea the Stars out of a Lope de Vega mare and a full to a 69-rated handicapper in England) looked very good. He could be anything or nothing, time will tell. Yesterday, another who looked very good was POET MASTER from the Karl Burke yard who won the Group 2 Minstrel by four lengths and is clearly improving fast. MOUNTAIN BEAR completely missed the break and was 22 lengths back in last. The winner is 12s for the Lennox which brings together all the good 1400m horses so we'll see how he goes in those deeper waters. LORD MANEUSSUS was second but well held by the winner but the decision to step back from 2000m was vindicated. The action this weekend is centred on Ascot and the Group 1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth over 2400m. 11 entries of which five came from Ballydoyle including the favourite AUGUSTE RODIN who won the Prince of Wales at Ascot last time, Second in is another globetrotter REBEL'S ROMANCE who won the Sheema Classic and the Champions & Chater Cup in his last two runs with BLUESTOCKING third favourite at 5s. It's often billed as an inter-generational clash but this year only the Irish Derby runner up SUNWAY represents the classic crop. In other 3-y-o news, it's been confirmed CITY OF TROY will run next in the Juddmonte at York while Ascot Summer MIle winner QUDDWAH will miss the Sussex in favour of the Marois at Deauville.
  3. The worldwide IT issues affecting Ladbrokes and Corals (so Entain) this morning with websites down and shops affected. Sky Sports Racing is unable to broadcast live which some will say is no great loss. No courses have been affected and all today's fixtures are due to go ahead. Couple of snippets this morning - INSPIRAL heads for the Nassau at Goodwood in two weeks. The five day Goodwood meeting doesn't have the quality of Royal Ascot but there are three Group 1 races, the Goodwood Cup over 3200m for which Gold Cup winner KYPRIOS is 8/13. On the Wednesday, we have the Sussex for the milers. ROSALLION is Evens with last Saturday's Ascot winner QUDDWAH in at 10s. On the Thursday, we have the Nassau for the fillies and mares over 2000m. It's an intriguing clash of the 1600m, 2000m and 2400m types and currently OPERA SINGER is 2/1 with BLUESTOCKING 7/2 and INSPIRAL at 9/2. ASFOORA is due to run in the Group 2 King George Stakes over 1000m on Friday where she is due to take on the likes of BELIEVING. KERDOS and BIG EVS who were all behind her in the King Charles III at the Royal meeting. On a personal note, I'm due to be attending Lingfield and Sandown next Wednesday and Thursday - the latter has a Listed race (be still, my beating heart). Sandown is a lovely course - one of the best viewing tracks in the country - although the facilities are nothing special and it's not cheap for admission (probably £20 for the Grandstand). Although it's hot here in London today, there has been rain in Ireland and the ground at The Curragh is now Good ahead of their Irish Oaks meeting. The Group 2 Minstrel on Sunday has eight runners. This isn't a strong race but it is closely matched with the field rated between 100 and 109. Top rated is MUTASARREF who won the Group 3 Ballycorus last time and is on the upgrade. LORD MASSEUSUS chased home the useful WHITE BIRCH in the Mooresbridge but was well behind that one in the Tattersalls Gold Cup but he's interesting back in trip. Just two 3-y-o contest the race - Aidan O'Brien runs MOUNTAIN BEAR who was seventh in the Irish 2000 Guineas and fourth in the Jersey at Ascot behind HAATEM who will likely run in the Sussex at Goodwood. He was only two lengths off the winner and closer than he had been in the Irish Guineas when HAATEM was second so I think this is his trip and he possible didn't quite see out the Guineas trip on seasonal debut. He'll do for me as a rather unoriginal selection.
  4. A different perspective from the other side of the world.... Wet tracks are a problem probably compounded by overwatering up here. Less of an issue in Ireland where they rarely need to water - indeed, Irish racing often takes place on wet ground with horses splashing through water - it's not waterlogged, just the result of recent rain. They call that Yielding by the way. British tracks now race when there is surface water as long as everyone is happy it's safe but rails are moved where possible to bypass the worst affected areas. If the water level is so high the ground is waterlogged underneath you don't race - if there's water on top but it's still dry underneath it's fine to race as long as everyone is happy.
  5. A couple of post scripts to last weekend's action. Gai Waterhouse was among the winners at Newmarket but as an owner not a trainer - her filly ASIAN DAZE won the 1400m handicap and will doubtless be heading Down Under before long. The filly was trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam who would follow up later with MILL STREAM in the July Cup. William Buick rode a four timer on the day which paid around 900/1 but he's well behind Oisin Murphy in the jockeys' championship. VANDEEK will now head for the Maurice de Gheest with the Crisford yard thinking the July Cup third will have brought him on while second placed SWINGALONG heads for Haydock with trainer Karl Burke saying the filly is best on quick ground. A low key weekend in Britain coming up but in Ireland it's the two day Irish Oaks meeting - the ground at The Currgah is Good, Good to Firm in places and a decent field of 14 go to post for the Irish Oaks over 2400m on Saturday afternoon (UK). Ryan Moore has chosen Pretty Polly third CONTENT and she has been supported from 6s to 11/4. The bare form shouldn't be good enough but clearly there's an expectation of further improvement with an extra 400m of ground to cover. Wayne Lordan rides Ribblesdale winner PORT FAIRY and the question is whether you prefer Group 1 placed form to Group 2 winning form. Willie Mullins is of course better known as a jumps trainer but he runs LOPE DE LILAS but she only won a maiden last time and I'm far from convinced. DARE TO DREAM was fifth in the Diane but was three lengths behind CONTENT last autumn and has never run on quick ground. It could bring on 10 lbs of improvement and she's be right in this if it did. WAR CHIMES was third and CAUGHT U LOOKING fifth in the English Oaks but the form of the race isn't holding up at the moment and I prefer Ribblesdale runner up LAVA STREAM who has proven quick ground form and would be my each way play at 10s. It's hard to ignore Ryan's choice - he doesn't often get it wrong - and CONTENT could well improve for the extra trip. I think DARE TO DREAM and LAVA STREAM are the two I'd take to see following her home. The supporting Group 2 Curragh Cup for the stayers over 2800m has 12 runners. TOWER OF LONDON hasn't been seen since flopping in the Yorkshire Cup but could well make amends - his principal opponent looks to be VAUBAN who was in front of him at York and didn't see out the 4000m of the Gold Cup when fourth to KYPRIOS. The Group 2 Sapphire over 1000m should be calmer waters for BELIEVING than the King Charles III or the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee in which she was fourth. Hopefully her Ascot exertions haven't left their mark because on other form she should be too good for the locals - she comfortably holds the ex-American galloper VALIANT FORCE on Ascot form. The highlight on Sunday is the Group 2 Minstrel for the 3-y-o over 1400m.
  6. Apologies for the delay in the review of last weekend's racing. Starting at Newmarket where the three day July Festival reached its climax on a fine Saturday afternoon - a little overnight rain had fallen but the ground was still officially Good. The feature was the July Cup, the traditional midsummer clash for the older and younger sprinters over 1200m. The older sprinters were represented by the first three home in the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee, KHAADEM, SINGALONG and MILL STREAM while the 3-y-o had the Commonwealth Cup first and third, INISHERIN and JASOUR, the 2023 Middle Park and Morny winner, VANDEEK and the Irish 2000 Guineas third RIVER TIBER representing Coolmore and Ballydoyle. The money came for INISHERIN who had looked dominant at Ascot and he was backed in to 11/8 favourite. A tremendous race but the finish dominated by the older horses as MILL STREAM narrowly reversed Ascot form with SWINGALONG winning by a neck. The winner gave his trainer, Jane Chapple-Hyam, her biggest success to date and the colours, those of Peter Harris, have long been associated with British racing. His daughter married the ex-jockey Walter Swinburn who died in 2016. SWINGALONG ran another huge race and you'd think she would have a leading chance at Haydock on a slightly flatter track - a Group 1 would not be undeserved after two wonderful placed runs in the highest company. VANDEEK led the 3-y-o home, two lengths off the winner in third. This was a much better run than his seasonal effort at Haydock and the blood problem which contributed to him missing Ascot may have just left him short of his best. I'm sure connections will fancy their chances of closing the two length gap at Haydock. ART POWER was prominent all the way and finished fourth - I just think 1000m on softer ground such as at The Curragh might be the optimum but for fifth placed INISHERIN, the opposite might be true. I never thought he looked comfortable on the ground from the start and he was never going to win but he ran on well up the hill and I just wonder if they'll consider stepping him up to 1400m for a race like the Lennox at Goodwood. He's 7/1 second favourite for the Sprint Trophy at Haydock (VANDEEK is 6/1 favourite). JASOUR ran well in sixth and got a little closer to INISHERIN than he had at Ascot. The disappointments were KHAADEM who ran too free, KINROSS, who couldn't go the early gallop and will be much better back at 1400m and RIVER TIBER, who put in another moderate effort after his failure in the Jersey. MILL STREAM isn't in the Haydock entries though he could be supplemented. I wonder if they might try the Maurice de Gheest at Deauville over 1300m next month. The supporting Group 2 saw ANCIENT TRUTH won the Superlative - he's no CITY OF TROY and trainer Charlie Appleby didn't even think after the race he'd stay much beyond a mile with the National at The Curragh the next target. Aidan O'Brien withdrew THE PARTHENON and SEAGULLS ELEVEN, who finished second, a son of Galileo out of a Kodiac mare, could be the longer term prospect. The opening 1400m juvenile fillies maiden saw a very nice debut from DESERT FLOWER, a home bred daughter of Night of Thunder out of Promising Run who won at Group 2 level at Meydan over a mile. She could be anything and enhances what already looks a strong crop of juvenile fillies. At Ascot, the Group 2 Summer Mile saw QUDDWAH maintain his unbeaten record and earn a 12/1 quote for the Sussex at Goodwood at the end of the month. He's yet to prove he's Group 1 class but he's not had much racing and clearly has plenty of ability. ANCIENT ROME returned to form in second but the first four were split by a length so I'm not sure how strong this form is but the winner is decent. On to Paris in the evening and a decent card highlighted by the 2400m Grand Prix de Paris which many now think of as the true French Derby since the Jockey Club was dropped in trip. ILLINOIS brought strong Ascot form to the table with SOSIE the best of the locals for the master trainer, Andre Fabre. SOSIE followed up a strong third in the Jockey Club with a decent performance here. It looked an even gallop so quite quick by French standards and they ran the 2400m in 2 minutes 31 seconds which isn't bad on a slow surface. The winner was always going well and quickened nicely in the straight. He's in the Arc as you might expect. It had to be a stamina test for ILLINOIS who we know gets 2800m well and he ran on well once headed. He's still in the Goodwood Cup at the end of the month for which he's 12s and he's 6s for both the Voltigeur at York and the English Leger and the long straight at Doncaster (over 800m) will be ideal. The favourite, DELIUS, lost his unbeaten record but wasn't disgraced and is also in the Arc (again, no surprise). I thought TAMFANA was coming to win the race 300m out but she got run out of the places and didn't seem to quite see out the full trip. Whether she'd do better on quicker ground I don't know. Last year's Royal Oak winner DOUBLE WIND relished the soft turf when winning the Group 2 Maurice de Nieuil over 2800m. He had previously run third in the Vicomtesse Vigier and reversed the form with second placed SHEMBALA but there's very little between them on the ratings. I expect their paths will cross again in the autumn staying races. Fillies can run in the Grand Prix de Paris but they have exclusive rights to the Group 2 Malleret over 2400m and Diane runner up SURVIE won this very nicely. She's a useful filly and she's in the Arc where she could give the colts plenty to think about. I'm not sure if they will give her a crack at the Vermeille first.
  7. Up here, synthetic meetings can be arranged at 48 hours notice. There's always two synthetic meetings on a winter Saturday (and can provide tv coverage if all the turf meetings are lost) and they've put on a third if it's a very cold spell and the turf fixtures are certain to be cancelled. The Irish re-arrange fixtures because they have space in the calendar (and a smaller country) - the British don't. We re-arrange races but not whole fixtures because we don't have the capacity in the calendar. There's less concern about midweek meetings than Saturdays (the biggest betting day of the week and guaranteed free-to-air tv coverage which also boosts turnover). It should be possible to have a system of "standby" meetings on the synthetic during the winter months which can be activated if required. I don't know if the horse population could support that.
  8. The second day of the Newmarket July Festival featured the Falmouth , a Group 1 for fillies and mares over the straight 1600m. Only a small field and dominated by the English 1000 Guineas second and Coronation Stakes PORTA FORTUNA for whom Donnacha O'Brien had booked Ryan Moore (Donnacha's father not having a runner). With the ground drying to Good, PORTA FORTUNA was backed in to tips on (10/11) against the Duke of Cambridge winner RUNNING LION and the Irish 1000 Guineas runner up A LILAC ROLLA. An impressive performance by PORTA FORTUNA who established herself as the top 3-y-o filly miler and arguably the overall top filly miler. She won by nearly four lengths and the times was only a fraction off Standard suggesting the ground had dried markedly and much to the winner's favour. Two of her American owners were present and this hugely consistent filly has now won her third Group 1 in ten starts. She's by Caravaggio out of a Holy Roman Emperor mare who stayed up to 3200m so you can see why Coolmore would be interested in her as a broodmare down the line. For now, I gather the plan is the Matron and then another tilt at the Breeders Cup and I'd love to see her in the Mile against the colts and geldings - a clash between her and ROSALLION would be well worth the wait. JABAARA outran her odds in second but second to fifth were split by half a length. A LILAC ROLLA looked as though 2000m would be a good idea but basically you had Group 2 horses in the wake of a proven Group 1 performer. RUNNING LION stopped very quickly once headed - similar happened at Epsom and I just wonder if there's a problem somewhere. The Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge for the juvenile fillies saw a fair field headed by the Albany third HEAVENS GATE who was well supported into 15/8 against the fourth in that race, MOUNTAIN BREEZE, who eased to 7/2 but the form was comprehensively reversed with MOUNTAIN BREEZE turning a near three length deficit into a three quarter length advantage but that wasn't good enough as ARABIAN DUSK sprang a minor upset for Team Crisford (part of an opening race double) winning at 12s. In a field of winners, she was one of the few maidens having run third in a Listed over the course and distance but after a lean spell in late May and June the Crisford yard (run by Simon and his son, Ed) is firing in winners left, right and centre. I'm not sure what to make of the form and it's early days among the juvenile fillies - the O'Brien paid BEDTIME STORY and FAIRY GODMOTHER look the top two but ARABIAN DUSK, and no doubt some others from this race, will head for the Lowther at York next month. I don't often mention 2-y-o maidens but the 1400m colts and geldings juvenile maiden at this meeting often throws up a good one and John Gosden was strong in his praise of FIELD OF GOLD who won well. He's by Kingman out of a Shamardal mare and is a half to the useful Zambaq who raced for Roger Varian in 2021 and 2022. Gosden doesn't over race his juveniles but this one looked very good winning by three and a half lengths. A couple of improving types in the handicaps were INVOLVEMENT who won the 2000m Class 2 and will probably go into Listed class and FAIRBANKS, who, despite pulling Oisin Murphy's arms out for 2400m, wasn't hard pressed to land the 2800m handicap and earn himself a tilt at the Ebor. He's got an ante post of 10s for that warm handicap for which they currently go 8s four times including two from the Willie Mullins yard and the Dermot Weld trained HARBOUR WIND who was runner up in the Chaudenay at the Arc meeting last year - Group 2 form in a handicap? Something to take seriously.
  9. Sand is used a lot up here to fix or try to fix problem areas on tracks. They put sand down at Haydock a couple of weekends ago when horses were slipping but it wasn't enough and they now have to do some proper remedial work. The winter jumps courses use a lot of sand to try to keep the surface as the grass isn't growing.
  10. More reviews from the past weekend coming soon but a brief look ahead to the coming weekend. Not much happening in the UK but in Ireland we have the Irish Oaks at The Curragh on Saturday and it's a decent two day card with some fair supporting races including the Group 2 Sapphire and the Group 2 Curragh Cup on the Saturday. Ribblesdale winner PORT FAIRY is the early 11/4 favourite with the news last week English Oaks winner EZELIYA had been retired after suffering a training setback. She will hopefully become yet another successful broodmare for the Aga Khan.
  11. The opening day of the Newmarket July Festival took place on ground officially described as Good to Soft but the times suggested was nearer Good. The course had received 29mm of rain on the Tuesday but had taken it very well. Two Group 2 races on the opening day and in the July Stakes, WHISTLEJACKET returned to form with a clear win. He relished the step up in trip and the easier turf after running fourth in the Norfolk at Ascot. He was too good for BILLBOARD BOY and AOMORI CITY though the latter ran with credit on his second outing and is one for the notebook. ELECTROLYTE walked from 7/2 to 8s and ran moderately suggesting the Coventry form this year may not be as strong and Windsor Castle winner AIN'T NOBODY was well held in last also suggesting the Ascot juvenile form may not be reliable on slower surfaces. WHISTLEJACKET is a full to LITTLE BIG BEAR who didn't stay much beyond 1200m but the way the former went through the line I think he could be a 1400m horse but quotes of 10s for the 2000 Guineas in May 2025 look a little premature. He's in the Phoenix and the National and is probably the best of the Ballydoyle colts at this time. The Princess of Wales saw HAMISH sent off favourite after his second in the Coronation Cup but it all went wrong for Tom Marquand - the ground had probably dried too much but the field of six split into two groups of three and Marquand found himself with the two outsiders and outpaced as ARREST and TIME LOCK went for home up the middle of the course. Unfortunately for them, GIAVELLOTTO was cantering just in behind and readily went on 300m out drawing away to win by three and a quarter lengths with the two Juddmonte horses second and third and HAMISH beaten the thisk end of 15 lengths in fourth. GIAVELLOTTO had won the Yorkshire Cup and 2400-2800m looks to be his optimum trip and it's no surprise a tilt at the Irish Leger is being considered. Elsewhere, ANCIENT TRUTH became the third horse out of the English Derby to follow up with a nice win in the 2600m Listed. He's heading for the Leger but has to haver soft or slow ground given his pronounced knee action. I'd love Godolphin to consider the Arc - a Paris bog would be ideal. The Aussie filly KITTY ROSE followed up her Sandringham fidth with a second place in the 1600m Listed. She was outpointed by last year's Royal Lodge second, AL MUSMAK, who had disappointed in both the Dante and the Hampton Court. The juvenile races at the meeting are often pointers for the rest of theseason and the 1200m race for the fillies saw a very promising debut run from ADOON VALLEY in second. She's by Too Darn Hot out of a Cape Cross mare who raced up to 2400m and she's definitely in the Stodge notebook.
  12. Events outside the sport have clearly overshadowed the opening day at Newmarket. The show must go on, however. Saturday's final declarations are through - 12 go for the July Cup over 1200m and favourite is Commonwealth Cup winner INISHERIN who has emerged as the dominant sprinter among the classic generation. He did it well at Ascot and we know ground and trip won't be an issue. He beat VANDEEK four lengths when they were first and third in the Sandy Lane at Haydock and while ground conditions should help VANDEEK and he was a very good juvenile, INISHERIN just seems to have improved. We can excuse his sixth in the 2000 Guineas as he patently didn't see out the 1600m. The older sprinters are here in force - REGIONAL won the Haydock Sprint Trophy last year and chased home ASFOORA in the King Charles III over 1000m at Ascot. My two doubts are first whether he truly sees out a stiff 1200m and second whether slow ground plays to his strengths. KINROSS poses a potent threat - he was third in this last year beaten less than a length and he was also second in the Champions Day Sprint. Arguably, his second at Newcastle on seasonal reappearance wasn't top form but that should have brought him on and he's a big danger to INISHERIN. KHAADEM won the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee with MILL STREAM a close third. The latter won twice at Deauville on soft ground last summer but they weren't Group 1 events. RIVER TIBER ran well in the Irish 2000 Guineas but has to bounce back from a poor run in the St James's Palace while Commonwealth Cup third JASOUR is another of interest. The 3-y-o get 6 lbs from the older sprinters and that tips the balance to INISHERIN who I prefer over KINROSS. The Group 2 Superlative over 1400m for the juveniles was won by CITY OF TROY last year - Chesham winner ANCIENT TRUTH looked the part at Ascot and should follow up. NIne go in the Group 2 Summer MIle at Ascot where the ground is also on the slow side following recent rain. SONNY LISTON carried a big weight when runner up in the Hunt Cup at Ascot suggesting he was ready for Group racing. I take him over QUDDWAH who won well over course and distance back in May. Eight go in the Grand Prix de Paris over 2400m at Longchamp. Aidan O'Brien withdrew GROSVENOR SQUARE this morning and relies on ILLINOIS who looked a real stayer at Ascot and I just wonder if dropping back 400m in trip is a good move. TAMFANA is an intriguing challenger - fourth in the English 1000 Guineas and third in the Diane, 350m further might be the making for her and connections will be hoping this is run as a typical French race so her speed will come to the fore. Jockey Club third SOSIE represents Andre Fabre and is probably best of the locals. Selections: Newmarket: 3.00: Superlative Stakes: ANCIENT TRUTH 4.35: July Cup: INISHERIN Ascot: 2.20: Summer Mile: SONNY LISTON Longchamp: 7.17: Grand Prix de Paris: TAMFANA
  13. MICKLEY raced in the name of Clarendon Racing until June 14th - the Friday before the Royal meeting. I assume Mr Siu bought the horse privately from Ed Bethell wh,o runs Clarendon Racing. The horse won the Britannia six days later. I think there was a hope the horse would continue to race in the UK for the rest of the season rather than be whisked straight off to HK but that's the owner's prerogative. The point was this is a growing trend to see big handicap winners going abroad and it's a matter of concern over here. The horse has been gelded so there's no breeding implication.
  14. DAVIDEO won a Class 3 handicap at Kempton last time so he can run on synthetic surfaces. He was owned by Al Shaqab up here who are cutting back in the UK and concentrating on France (prize money?). He was tried in Class 2 handicaps last year as a 3-y-o but didn't do much and he's rated in the high 90s. He also seems better on slow turf. Doesn't seem an obvious Aussie type to me but what do I know? On an unrelated, the concern up here is good horses being sold to Hong Kong. The Britannia Handicap winner, MICKLEY, was bought by P K Siu and will race in Hong Kong.
  15. John's not wrong - our prize money, even at the big meetings, is embarrassing and one of the reasons why Royal Ascot doesn't get the runners from Japan for example. As for admission, we have the Goodwood Festival at the end of the month. The two top enclosures are the Richmond and the Gordon - I thought the Richmond was only for Goodwood Annual Members (strict dress code - jackets/blazers and ties which can't be removed even if it gets past 30 degrees. I'm not sure what the code is for men ) but it seems you can buy a ticket at £99 per day so call that NZ$200 for a day's racing - yes, there are three Group 1 races at the meeting but it's not all high quality like Ascot. The Gordon Enclosure (slightly more relaxed just smart casual) comes in at £75 per day - I think the Lennox (the third enclosure) is £35 per day. The other time admission spikes is when you have music after the racing but I get that - if you went to a Tom Jones concert, you wouldn't expect to get in for nothing. LIngfield has DJ nights and tribute bands - I once went to an ABBA tribute evening (7,000 in attendance so good for the course) and saw a band called FABBA who managed to look and sound completely unlike ABBA which is something for a tribute band. Now, I've seen Bjorn Again and the Bootleg Beatles and they are Group 1 class in the tribute bands whereas FABBA could have been sold off (there wouldn't have been any bids for them either, I suspect). I paid £17 for yesterday's bottom-of-the-barrel scrapingly bad racing. To be fair, a 4/1 winner of a Class 6 maiden handicap pays the same as the winner of a Group 1 so I can't complain. Courses claim cutting the price to say a fiver wouldn't bring in the numbers and they have outgoings which are required even if there was no one in attendance. Final thought on the synthetic venues - our winters are colder and wetter than yours. Grass racing is almost impossible for four months (November - February) up here so I see the argument for having synthetic surfaces for winter flat racing. I can also see an argument for synthetic racing in the autumn and spring especially to allow young horses to have the experience of racing but not having to do so on Heavy turf. The truth however is a synthetic venue can easily race 100-120 days per year but we have six. At most, we need three or four and then mainly for the winter. I think two or three of the venues should be mothballed but if I stood up and suggested that I'd be lynched. I know it's an argument you're going through but we have 59 courses and 1,500 meetings and the economics of that just don't work.