5:50 – Newmarket – CORAL MOBILE THREE CLICKS TO BET HANDICAP (CLASS 3) (3yo 0-95)
3 year old handicaps are notoriously difficult to work out this early in the season with plenty of horses who have yet to show their full potential in opposition. Brass Ring makes his handicap debut this afternoon having won is Maiden on his last start but as often happens in races like this, a case can be made for all five of the runners.
Brass Ring did not run last year and the 3 year old bay colt made his racecourse debut at Nottingham in April over 1 mile 2 furlongs. He was a big eye catcher as he although he missed the break and was a long way behind he stayed on strongly finishing closer than he had been at any time in the race. His pedigree and his performance strongly suggested that he would get distances of 1 mile 4 furlongs plus, sooner rather than later. He was put up in trip to 1 mile 4 furlongs for his second start at Haydock just 7 days after his racecourse debut. Although he was slightly reluctant to go into the stalls and was slowly into his stride, he was held up in touch before making good headway 3 furlongs out. He was ridden 2 furlongs from home and led approaching the final furlong, keeping on well to win by 2 lengths. He looked to have any amount of potential.
He runs over 1 mile 4 furlongs again this afternoon on Good to Firm ground. He won is Maiden at Haydock in the same going, so underfoot conditions will be fine for Brass Ring today.
Robert Havlin rides Brass Ring again this afternoon and has ridden him on both of his previous starts. Robert has had a slow start to the season, but the three rides he has had for John Gosden who trains Brass Ring in the last 14 days have resulted in two second places.
The Gosden yard are starting to come into form with 4 winners in the last two weeks including a Listed winner at Newbury yesterday. Brass Ring was very impressive in the way he won at Haydock last time despite his slow start. He now has more experience behind him having raced twice so should have a better idea of what to expect when the stalls open and can hopefully break better. He is up against some potentially decent opposition today but his connections clearly think he is decent as he has an entry in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot. A good run today in a Class 3 Handicap could set up this son of Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Rail Link very nicely for Royal Ascot.
Coral Sands is turning into a bit of a course specialist
6:50 – Hamilton – SAINTS & SINNERS RACENIGHT IN JUNE HANDICAP (CLASS 5) (4yo+ 0-75) 1m65y Good to Soft, Soft in places
Coral Sands ran over course and distance 12 days ago when seen to be the second string of the two horses that trainer Alan Swinbank was running in the race before going onto win at a starting price of 22/1. Swinbank said after the race: ”He was weak last year, but he’s a nice horse from a family who improve with age. I’m not surprised he won.”
The 5 year old black gelding has only run 8 times in his career to date and only four of his runs have come on the flat turf. His win at Hamilton on his last start was his first success and he now boasts figures of 1 win and 1 placed run from his 4 turf starts. His placed run also came at Hamilton over today’s trip.
He runs over 1 mile and his only two runs over the trip have come at Hamilton. The going is Good to Soft, Soft in places. His win came in Soft ground and his placed run last May was in Good to Soft ground, so Coral Sands should handle the underfoot conditions well enough this evening.
The race he won here last time would appear to be no better than normal form. Nothing that ran in the race has run since and the times of the race was 8.51 seconds slower than the standard time for the distance on the track. However, after taking a keen hold Coral Sands chased the leaders. He was driven out at 2 furlongs from home and rallied inside the final furlong to take on the leader and despite edging left he was driven out to win by 1 length.
He is ridden by Andrew Mullen who rode him to his win last time out. It was his first ride on the horse and only his second ride for Alan Swinbank in the last 5 seasons and despite Robert Winston who rides regularly for the yard riding at Hamilton this evening, Andrew keeps the ride.
Coral Sands might have won an ordinary race at Hamilton last time, but this race appears to be little better. The underfoot conditions which suit Coral Sands are not to the liking of most of the rest of the field and at what appears to be fast becoming his favourite venue, it would not be a great surprise of Coral Sands was able to win again this evening.
7:00 – Newmarket – CHASSIS CAB DAF HANDICAP (CLASS 4) (4yo+ 0-85) 1m4f Good
Attwaal has started the flat season in very fine form. Not only has the 4 year old bay gelding won on his first two starts on the flat turf, but he won on his previous start on the all weather at Lingfield in March. A big horse standing 16.3hh he was bought by his current trainer Neil King on the recommendation of his former trainer Roger Varian to go jumping. He has run once over hurdles so far, finishing 43 lengths behind the winner. Since going back onto the flat his form figures read 5,3,1,1,1 and it will be surprising if the handicapper has got to the bottom of him yet.
He ran four times for Roger Varian without winning and he made his debut for Neil King over hurdles at Newbury in December. He came back to the flat in January off a handicap mark of 65 and after his second run at Wolverhampton in February when he was staying on over a trip of 1 mile 1½ furlongs he was stepped up in trip to 1 mile 4 furlongs for his next start at Lingfield. He won the race very impressively, going away from a field who were not stopping to win by 1¼ lengths. He has since won twice at Windsor over the same trip and on both occasions he has stayed on well.
He runs over mile 4 furlongs again this evening and he has now won three times from four runs over the distance. The going at Newmarket is Good and he has won on his only start on Good ground to date.
Seb Sanders has ridden his on all five of his flat starts for Neil King and rides again this evening. He has only ridden for Neil King 9 times in the last 5 seasons with all three wins coming on Attwaal. After a slow start to the season, Seb has ridden three winners in the last 14 days.
Attwaal will probably be kept going on the flat until the handicapper gets a grip of him. He runs off a handicap mark of 80 this evening which is 5lbs higher than his last win at Windsor. He is obviously in very good form just now and this further rise of 5lbs in the weights may not be enough to stop him tonight, especially as this is only his fifth run over the distance. Newmarket could prove to be a very good venue for Attwaal. Being such a big horse, he has an enormous stride and with the final mile and a ¼ being straight at Newmarket, Seb Sanders will have plenty of time to get him balanced and galloping for a run at the leaders around 2 to 3 furlongs out.
3:15 – York – DUKE OF YORK CLIPPER LOGISTICS STAKES (Group 2) (CLASS 1) (3yo+) 6f Good
With the horses which filled the first four places in last year’s renewal of the Duke of York and the thriving fillies Tickled Pink and Ladies Are Forever in the race Mince will have to be at her best to prevail this afternoon. However, after completing a four-timer last season and winning at Listed and Group 3 level on her last run, she is fully entitled to continue her progression at Group 2 level today.
Mince has had 12 starts in her career to date and earned her connections over £132,000 in prize money. She ran three times as a 2 year old, winning on both her second and third starts. She blossomed last year during her 3 year old season when she won five times from eight starts. A remarkable enough record for any sprinter, but considering she never ran in a field of less than 10 runners her ability to cruise through the race before showing a quick turn of foot allows her to be placed in the right place at the right time.
She runs over 6 furlongs this afternoon and in nine starts over the distance she has won 6 times and been placed once. She also broke the track records for 6 furlongs at both Ascot and York last season, taking 0.35 seconds off the best time at York that had been set as far back as 2005. The going at York is Good. Mince has only ever run in Good ground once before which was on her racecourse debut. However she has won in Good to Firm and Good to Soft ground, so today’s underfoot conditions really should not be an issue for her.
James Doyle rides her for the fifth time today. James rode her on her last two starts of 2012 when she won a Listed event over today’s course and distance and a Group 3 at Ascot. James rides regularly for Roger Charlton who trains Mince and has ridden 33 winners for him.
Mince improved markedly throughout last season, winning a Class 2 Handicap before taking pattern class races at Listed and Group 3 level. Her trainer has stated that she has done well over the winter and that her first big target of the season is Royal Ascot for which she has two Group 1 entries. He also considers her to be the highest rated sprinting filly in training. She is fully entitled to be in this line up today and if she shows the same form she did last season could well get off to a winning start in 2013.
3:40 – Beverley – JOHN JACKSON HANDICAP (CLASS 4) (4yo+ 0-85) 1m100y Good to Firm
Toto Skyllachy won at Beverley 8 days ago in a really taking manner in the same race that the 5 year old bay gelding won last year. With underfoot conditions to suit and the plum draw in stall 1 the form he showed in winning last week should make him very difficult to beat this afternoon.
Toto Skyllachy has won 7 of his 40 starts in the flat turf. He runs over 1 mile and ½ a furlong today and in 22 runs over distances between 1 mile and 1 mile ½ furlong he has won 5 times and been placed on 4 other occasions. He has run at Beverley on 7 occasions, winning 3 times and being placed twice. Moreover, 6 of his runs have been over today’s course and distance with all of his wins and placed runs being over this trip.
The going at Beverley is Good to Firm and in 12 runs in the going he has won 3 times and been placed once. Two of his course and distance wins have come in Good to Firm ground.
He was a very convincing winner on his run over course and distance last week. After tracking the leaders, he made headway 2 furlongs from the finish and led over 1 furlong out. He was ridden from this point and went clear to win by 4½ lengths despite edging right. He ran off a handicap mark of 85 last week and carries a 6lb penalty for the win. The form he showed last time out looks good enough to overcome what will be the highest mark he has run off.
Daniel Tudhope rides Toto Skyllachy for the 13th time this afternoon. The pair have previously won twice and been placed 6 times. Danny has an excellent 28% winning strike rate on the flat turf so far this season with 28 winners from 72 rides including 10 winners in the last 14 days, 9 of which have come from 26 rides for David O’Meara at a very good 34% strike rate.
David O’Meara is fast becoming one of the top trainers in the North and has a 22% winning strike rate in the last two weeks. With two other last time out winners in the field Toto Skyllachy will not have things his own way, but a repeat of last week’s run is going to make him very hard to beat, especially from stall 1 on a course where draw bias plays a huge part. Moreover, the fact that the race looks competitive should mean that the starting price for Toto Skyllachy should hold up with his price currently being offered at 9/4.
3:40 – Musselburgh – TURCAN CONNELL HANDICAP (CLASS 5) (4yo+ 0-75) 1m4f100y Good, Good to Soft in places
On the form of Alsahil’s seasonal reappearance and his final run of last season it would appear inconceivable that the 7 year old chestnut gelding could figure in the race today. However bad his last run at Catterick was, beaten into last place some 21 lengths behind the winner over today’s trip, there are a number of factors that give hope to his backers.
Alsahil has run 18 times on the flat turf and he has won on four occasions. Of his 18 runs thirteen have been over distances of 1 mile 3 furlongs upwards and three of his wins have come over longer distances. He runs over 1 mile 4½ furlongs this afternoon and he has won twice and been placed once from seven runs over 1 mile4 furlongs.
The going at Musselburgh is Good, Good to Soft in places. The weather forecast is for light showers throughout the day, so if anything the ground is likely to deteriorate. Alsahil has won in Good ground twice and won and been placed in Soft going. So underfoot conditions should be fine.
He is ridden by P J McDonald this afternoon. P J has not ridden his before but he has ridden 4 winners in the last 14 days and he is statistically at his best riding over 1 mile 4 furlongs.
Alsahil is easy to overlook today. However, a look at his form at this level is quite revealing. He is running in Class 5 for only the 7th time today. In his previous 6 runs in this class he has won 3 times and been placed once. In his last two runs he led and was passed towards the finish on each occasion. However, when he won three runs back over 1 mile 3 furlongs up the stamina sapping hill at Hamilton he was ridden behind the leaders. Mohawk Ridge who is favourite for the race today is a front runner and with the middle distance expert P J McDonald in the plate it would be a surprise if Alsahil was allowed to lead today.
Alsahil is a chancy proposition on his current form, but if P J can get his covered up and save some petrol for the finish he could surprise one or two by running into a place or possibly even winning. At current odds of 16/1 it could be worth placing a small each way wager just in case.
3:20 – Nottingham – WEATHERBYS HAMILTON INSURANCE HANDICAP (CLASS 4) (4yo+ 0-85) 1m6f15y Good
Twelve Strings won on his final start last season and after leaving Luca Cumani’s yard at the end of October makes his seasonal reappearance at Nottingham for his new trainer Brian Ellison. The 4 year old bay gelding has run 8 times on the flat turf so far in his career, winning three times and being placed twice.
His wins have come over 1 mile, a distance he has won over twice and his Bath win came over 1 mile 5 furlongs. He made his first two starts last season over 1 mile and was gradually put up in trip, running over 1 mile 2 furlongs twice and 1 mile 4 furlongs on two occasions. All of his runs appeared to follow a similar pattern in that he hit a flat spot 2 or 3 furlongs out before running on strongly. He looked to be screaming out to be run over staying distances.
The Bath race was ideal for Twelve Strings as not only did he have an extra furlong to run over, but the going was Soft which would help to draw out his stamina. He tracked the leaders before being ridden to take the lead 2 furlongs out. Despite idling in front he saw the trip out strongly to win by 1½ lengths and suggested very strongly that he will see out today’s trip over a furlong further.
The going at Nottingham in Good with more rain expected which can only help Twelve Strings. He has run in Good ground three times, winning once and finishing in the places on his other two starts. He has also won twice from three starts in Soft ground, so if the ground deteriorates with the rain his chances should not be affected.
Twelve Strings is ridden by James Doyle for the first time today. Interestingly, James has only ridden for Brian Ellison once in the last five seasons.
Twelve Strings has gone well fresh before. After winning on his last start in 2011 he won on his seasonal reappearance in 2012. He won off a handicap mark of 75 at Bath on his last start and has been put up 5lbs for his win. However, he did appear to have plenty in hand at Bath and the going and distance should suit him today. It could well be a case of history repeating itself with Twelve Strings winning on his seasonal reappearance again this afternoon.