Enjoy A Sweet Selection In The Cesarewitch

Friday sends us into the weekend in buoyant mood, after Rhododendron scored impressively at HQ. She showed real class and is an exciting prospect to follow, if she heads over to the Breeders’s Cup.

Hopefully her performance will bode well for the weekend, where Sweet Selection is selection in the Cesarewitch. Hughie Morrison’s charge is well and truly on an upward curve this season, rattling up a hat-trick of wins before following up a decent effort at York, with a career-best fifth place in the Doncaster Cup.

She gets in the Cesarewitch off a mark of 87 and that is set to significantly rise in the coming weeks. Champion jockey Silvestre De Sousa is riding well and he is a solid booking. The four-year-old will relish the trip, should have no issues with the ground and looks sure to go close off a generous weight. The current 9/1 is fair value and given most firms are offering five places (six at Sky Bet), then she deserves another look.

Elsewhere on a fantastic day of racing, Churchill looks set to cement his Classic status with a big performance in the Dewhurst. He should take all the beating but from a betting perspective, it may be worth taking a trip to York to sample some more value.

The Rockingham Stakes (3.10 York) looks a fair renewal but Sir Dancealot is a horse who could prove a cut above his rivals. He made a fairly inauspicious start to racing life in a hot Windsor maiden but that run was left well in the past, as he came out next time and hacked up at Kempton, landing a fairly serious gamble in the process.

He followed up in a decent Conditions race at the same track next (subsequent winner Fly At Dawn was back in third) and his final start to date confirmed all promise. It looked a solid Group 3 (though favourite Escobar clearly wasn’t right) and he looked a potential winner a furlong out.

He travelled nicely for Jim Crowley (has ridden him on all four occasions) and battled on well behind Larchmont Lad and Whitecliffsofdover, getting within a length at the line.

The form could prove to be very strong and given he wasn’t overly well placed during the race last time, it would be no surprise him improve on that performance.

The drop back to 6f is a slight concern given he has pulled hard on occasions but he settled well last time and if that is the case on Saturday, he can pounce off a strong pace from a favourable high draw. Shane Kelly is an able deputy to Crowley and the current 4/1 seems a very fair bet in what looks a winnable Listed race.


1pt e/w: Sweet Selection (Cesarewitch) @ 9/1 Various

1.5pts win: Sir Dancealot (15.10 York) @ 4/1 Various




Golden Horn – A Golden Horse?

As Golden Horse strode majestically down the camber at Epsom, eating up the ground on the classy Jack Hobbs – those who were fortunate to have a space in the packed grandstand knew they were witnessing something special.

Doubts were diminishing, pressure was being eased and a date with destiny (part two) was answered as Frankie Dettori saluted the crowd with Golden Horn lengthening a few lengths clear underneath him.

This was the crowning glory of the animal who had crept under the radar since his sole two-year-old start and with the horse racing fraternity searching for a superstar among the ranks, Golden Horn has done nothing but answer graciously.

His only visit to the track as a two-year-old ensured he created a rather understated impression that looks more and more impressive the more you revisit it. He was slow away, looked set to be outpaced over three-furlongs out before making smooth headway under pressure, to pick it up and gallop relentlessly to the line.

He was always keeping Storm the Stars at bay and eventually crossed the line a head to the good, with seven lengths back to the third. It was the type of performance that brought a ‘wow’ reaction without too much thought being given to the actual strength of the race.

Still, it was enough to ensure he returned to the track as a warm favourite, as he took his place in the Listed Fielden Stakes (9f) at Newmarket. Again, he was held up before making smooth headway through the race under new rider, Frankie Dettori, taking the lead when edging left in the final furlong before going on to a clever length and a half success.

At this stage it was evident a mile may not be sufficient and a step up in trip was likely to bring out even more improvement from the colt.

So, with the long-term plan being the French Derby, he was sent to York to contest the Dante Stakes over 10f. It was a race that many thought would be a mini-Derby, with many of the leading candidates turning up on the Knavesmire.

However with connections feeling Golden Horn was a real 10f horse, there were very few Epsom murmurs, until William Buick manoeuvred the colt out to track the leaders, swooped upside Jack Hobbs and then kicked on to win a shade cosily.

The manner in which he galloped past rivals with a hint of ease suggested he may well get further and the commotion after the event surrounded future decisions. Would Mr Oppenheimer opt to swerve Cahntilly for a crack at the prestigious Epsom Derby?

Trainer John Gosden was certainly vocal with his feelings but he left it completely to the owner and it mustn’t have taken too long for a decision to be made, as he was swiftly chartering a different course, heading straight at Epsom.

The tracing fraternity finally had a horse to latch onto, an improving, unbeaten colt who had done no wrong. Golden Horn.

Another major pull was the renaissance of popular rider Frankie Dettori, as the Italian fought back from the brink of obsuciroty to secure himself the top rides with the in-form John Gosden. With William Buick’s Godolphin links it was highly likely he would be needed elsewhere and in a bizarre twist of fate, the jockey’s switched horses as Godolphin purchased Dante runner-up and Derby second-favourite, Jack Hobbs.

This meant Buick got on-board Jack Hobbs while Dettori gleefully took the reins on Golden Horn as he bid for his second date with destiny up the famous Epsom camber.

He was settled towards the rear as the leaders went hell-for-leather up front and as he swung around Tattenham Corner, Dettori began to ease the colt through the pack, while stablemate Jack Hobbs got first run and took up the running.

He took a few strides to really hit top gear, but Golden Horn was merely teasing backers, and the flat spot was no more as he picked up the bit and galloped after his big, stocky, stablemate. Then came the sense of inevitability.

The nervous expression of backers suddenly changed to confidence, with “Go on Frankie!” bellowed from all parts of the racecourse. The horse at this stage had just loomed upsides and then gone past Jack Hobbs, delivering a crushing blow as he sauntered across his barn buddy before running on strongly up the rail to coast home an impressive winner.

He then reappeared in the Eclipse, bidding to join the greats such as Sea The Stars and Nashwan in the elite group of animals to do the Derby/Eclipse double and it was here he cemented himself as a top-class horse.

After the field understandably cut up with many swerving the chance to face a red hot Derby winner, Golden Horn faced four rivals, including the consistent horse from the Kevin Ryan stable, The Grey Gatsby.

It was a new scenario with a distinct lack of pace likely, so it came as no surprise to see Dettori bounce out and ease his charge to the front, where he could dictate the tempo. He set steady early fractions and wound it up in the straight, but there was a real worry for Golden Horn backers as The Grey Gatbsy loomed up large under a patient Jamie Spencer ride, eye-balling the favourite for good measure.

Dettori was urging the colt for more up the rail and as the grey beast next to him was urged for more, it appeared John Gosden’s colt was in for a battle. However he did what champions do, and dug deep to find reserves many questioned were there as he picked up the tempo to forge on for strong pressure.

The crowd responded with cheers and urgings of their own and as he careered away down the Sandown straight, finding his balance with ease to come home a shade cosily in the end, with some distance back to the third, belief had grown.

Golden Horn could be a member of the elite.

After looking as though the 3yo ranks were set for a disappointing return, it is nice to see we have a number of potential top-class animals to pad out the remainder of the year. Golden Horn looks a genuine good ground horse who wouldn’t want it on the soft side, yet he should have the chance to add to his ever growing reputation over the course of the season.

A trip to the King George for which his owner has plenty of sentimental attachment seemed the likely port of call, before a potential crack at the Juddmonte International at York. However rain-softened ground put paid to the former, so the Irish Champion Stakes, the Arc and potentially even the Breeders Cup are all logical options at present and it will be interesting to see which way the colt goes.

At present he looks to have plenty of talent and a whole host of opportunities ahead of him. Hopefully the ground will come good on the Knavesmire and he can put in a big performance for racing fans to latch onto.

Can Golden Horn prove himself as the Golden horse?

York Ebor Meeting – Day One Preview

York’s Ebor meeting tops the flat racing calendar for many, with fantastic racing often accompanied by glorious sunshine on the Knavesmire.

It has been my personal favourite UK flat meeting ever since I was fortunate enough to witness incredible Epsom Derby winner, Authorized, taking on future Arc winner, Dylan Thomas, back in 2007. That day changed my views on racing forever, and since then I have been very fortunate with my luck at the Yorkshire track.

This year looks set to be no different and the opening day provides the opportunity to see some fantastic horses, with Derby winner Australia rightfully taking centre stage. He is the best horse in the race, but with Joseph O’Brien pushing himself to unnatural limits to make the 8st 12 to ride him, there would have to be question marks about his physical fitness in a finish, should the horse need to pull out something extra. He should get the better of the field comfortably if carrying on his progression, but there has to be doubts about taking long-odds on.


The day starts with the Symphony Group Handicap, a typically tough race that will set you up for the day/meeting if you can find the winner. There is plenty of each-way value, and the selection lies with See the Sun. He landed a valuable prize at York back in June and travelled like the winner last time out, when controlling the race from the front before fading late on behind the talented Muthmir. A shorter trip is set to suit Tim Easterby’s charge, and stall 20 is a plum box to get out and dictate. The three-year-old is nicely weighted and on an upward curve, so the current 11/1 represents clear value and he can hopefully kick-start the meeting in the best possible way.

Next up is the Acomb Stakes, which looks a fantastic opportunity to highlight Jamaica’s potential Classic claims for next year. He is currently second-favourite for the Group Three Acomb, behind the highly rated Basateen, but the manner of Jamaica’s victory as-well as the sheer market support that came for him at Galway, suggest he has the potential to be a special animal. He is going to want further rather soon, as his staying-on display last time out suggested, but he still possesses enough speed at the moment to get the better of the field tomorrow. The 3/1 is more than fair, and this looks like has to potential to be a real starting point for a big career should the vibes from Coolmore be anything to go by.

Kingston Hill is expected to take all the beating back in his optimum conditions in the Great Voltigeur Stakes, yet he will face stiff competition from a tough field. Sir Michael Stoute’s, Snow Sky, looked the least likely winner heading down to post at Glorious Goodwood, dripping with sweat and acting up in the preliminaries. This, combined with the three-year-old failing to settle during the early exchanges, meant that many thought he had already put paid to his chances. However thanks to a masterful James Doyle ride, he managed to prevail by a head, and continue his upward curve. He possesses plenty of ability, and 1m4f looks to be his optimum trip, with the ground posing no issues. If he behaves before the race, and settles earlier he will pose a massive threat to the favourite and at 8/1, he looks a fair bet. He is a risky proposition, but his talent is worth taking a punt on, and if the favourite does fail to act, Snow Sky looks the likeliest to benefit.

Eagle Rock is an interesting contender in the penultimate race of the day, with the Tom Tate trained six-year-old currently a fantastic each-way proposition at 20/1. He saves his best runs for the Knavesmire, running consistently in big handicaps, including a course and distance success. It is a very open race as the prices suggest, but he is one of very few that absolutely love big fields and the course, and one of only two in the race who have course-distance success (Itlaaq the other), which swings things in his massively favour at a surprising price. J P Sullivan has never finished out of the first three when on-board the horse and with him in the saddle tomorrow, hopefully he can piece together another solid run and return each-way money at the very least.



1:55, York: See the Sun @ 11/1

2:30, York: Jamaica @ 3/1

3:05, York: Snow Sky @ 8/1

4:20, York: Eagle Rock @ 20/1





York Ebor Festival – Day One Advice

The opening day of arguably the best flat meeting of the summer (albeit a biased verdict..), and there is plenty of top quality action to get stuck into.

The big talking point of the day is the clash between proven Group One horse Al Kazeem, and the young pretender who’s not certain to stay, Toronado.

Al Kazeem is a class-act, and a worthy favourite on all facts and figures we’ve seen so far, however Toronado could just be that something special, and as Hughes comes there swinging two out, we are set to see just how good the apple of his eye, really is.

It’s a race to strictly enjoy, even without any financial interest, and it’s all set to be a cracker.

However, there are plenty of big prices to get involved with on Wednesday, and none more competitive than the opener, for which Above Standard heads the market at 8/1.

He sneaks into the race near the bottom of the weights, after racking up a successful 5f double on the Knavesmire in June, before a close fourth at Glorious Goodwood.

Drawn 18 of 19, the 5yo seems to have everything in place for a big run, and with Mick Easterby’s charge clearly on an upward curve, the course and distance winner looks set to go off shorter than the current 17/2 on Betfair.

The trainer and jockey have a solid strike-rate at York, and should go very close to getting off the mark at the first chance.


Elsewhere on the card, there is an outsider in the penultimate race that has been seemingly overlooked by the bookmakers, despite having solid form at the Yorkshire track.

Martin Chuzzlewit has always been extremely well-regarded by connections, and the 4yo son of Galileo has ran well in handicaps at the venue over the previous two seasons.

He lacks tactical speed which suggests the step up in trip is definitely up his street, and should he manage to curb the seeming regression, he has moer than enough talent to make a serious impact on proceedings.

His last race, he started second favourite behind Montaser, who has since been tried at Group level, and he ran well for much of that contest depsite taking a keen hold early on.

A change of pilot in the shape of William Buick, could well give the horse the boost he needs to regain some of his best form, on which he would surely go close.

The 16/1 available at the minute looks too tempting to resist, and if he manages to settle early on, he should give us a good run for our money.

In the finale, a class two nursery, there is only two horses in single figures which show just how competitive it is on paper.

Ventura Spirit looks a solid favourite given his close third to current Acomb favourite The Grey Gatsby, but we turn to the already proven class act in the race.

Coulsty didn’t really kick on from his explosive debut at Leicester when he hacked up by five lengths, yet he still has the best form in the book at the minute.

He finished down the field behind No Nay Never at Royal Ascot, before finishing second in a conditions stakes at Newmarket, and third behind the highly regarded Bunker in Deauville.

He carries top weight, but with Richard Hughes in the saddle, he is fancied to go very close a cracking each-way price of 10/1.


1 point win: Above Standard @ 8/1 (Various)

1 point win: Martin Chuzzlewit @ 16/1 (Ladbrokes)

1 point win: Coulsty @ 10/1 (William Hill/Ladbrokes)

0.25 e.w patent: Above Standard/Martin Chuzzlewit/Coulsty @ 1682/1 (Ladbrokes)





“There’s fantasy, there’s fable and then there’s Frankel.”

I will never forget my first encounter with the beast Frankel. It was the 13th of August 2010, I had been 18 for just over five months and had become a regular in my local bookmakers. My luck was never that great and the older gentlemen had always had a laugh and joke about my tendency to fall one short in doubles/trebles/accumulators etc.

“Friday the 13th, it may be your lucky day” one of the gentlemen quipped. And little did I know how lucky I would become that day. It was a typical Friday night in my area, very grim, results were out the following week, but I had succumbed to defeat and accepted I would be facing a tedious third year in college. It was pouring with rain, and many were taking shelter in the bookmakers, the smell of tea and coffee filled the dimly lit room and the sounds of the games machines were ringing loud.

I had taken my usual stance by the evening meetings sheet in the corner as it ticked to 6:15, “Decent little maiden this, must be a reason this fav (Frankel) is so short.” I said to someone also perusing at the Racing Post. They laughed, “No value, it’s going to be one of the Goldolphin pair.”

I had only popped down to pick up some tea for me and my mum, but was always dragged in my the lure of the bookmakers, the chance to watch some racing and hear stories of what the women behind the desk has seen today. I had £10 on me, and was supposed to be going out the following week for results night. I knew that it wouldn’t be plausible for me to have a night out with that money.

I threw caution to the wind, I had heard many good things in the run-up to the maiden and decided to see if Friday the 13th was my lucky day. I managed to get 2/1 for him and threw it on to win. The weather and ground were atrocious at Newmarket when he lined up at the start. ‘I hope he handles the ground.’ I thought.

The race began and he was held up towards the rear. He cruised up on the bridle two furlongs out, and then powered into the lead travelling well with a furlong to go. Nathaniel (future King George winner) challenged in the final furlong, but Frankel showed a willing attitude and stuck on gamely to win by half a length.

Nobody around me reacted, apart from a few cursed their luck and walked out. Everyone just thought they had witnessed a standard Newmarket maiden. How wrong we were. This would be the last time I would ever be lucky enough to get odds-against in a single race for the Freak. I knew he was going to be special, but just how special, nobody could have predicted.

Since this maiden at Newmarket, over two years ago, he has gone on to win another twelve races, taking his impressive tally to thirteen victories from thirteen races, including nine group-ones.

Frankel had three more races in his two-year-old campaign, following his maiden victory. He went to Doncaster as a warm 1/2 favourite, and destroyed the field by 13 lengths, only being asked the question deep into the final furlong.

This performance seen him installed as the long odds-on favourite for the Group 2 Royal Lodge stakes at Ascot. This was where he would stamp his class and bring massive attention to himself as a potential superstar. Held up in last place coming around Swinley Bottom, Tom Queally gave Frankel an inch of reign and the horse reacted instantly, rounding the field in a number of strides, powering into the lead three furlongs out. It was a moment in which we first got to see just how incredible his turn of foot actually was, as he went clear almost instantaneously, going on to win by a cosy ten lengths.

This was enough to allow him to take his chance in his first Group 1. The Dewhurst, a well known trial for the following years 2000 Guineas. Starting at 4/6, he was facing his first real test in the bookmakers eyes, the well-fancied Dream Ahead (who would later go on to sweep up numerous Group One’s over 6f).

Even though the race was on Channel 4 I had decided to go and watch the race in town, to sample the atmosphere as everyone gathered to see if Frankel was as good as the hype suggested. He was. A special was announced before the race, 4/1 for Frankel to win the Dewhurst/Guineas double. He was already a short price for the next years 2000 Guineas and I knew another win would mean he would crumble once more. What a bet that turned out to be.

The result was never really in doubt as although he pulled early on, he was given space by Queally, and that was all he needed. He powered down the middle of the track, eating up the ground on his rivals, going on to win by two and a half lengths, with the following years Irish 2000 Guineas winner Roderic O’Connor in second. Dream Ahead disappointed down the field.

After Frankel had been put away for a winter break, he re-appeared at Newbury after 182 days, to blow away a Greenham field which had future Group winners Excelebration and Strong Suit in attendance. This was enough to cement his place at the head of 2000 Guineas market, as he was set to go off the first odds-on shot in many years.

30th April 2011 was the day that made Frankel a superstar. A simply magnificent performance in which he blew away his twelve rivals with consummate ease and landed the first classic of the year. He didn’t adhere to his pace-makers tactics and went straight out to the lead himself. His stride lengthened and by half-way he had built up a ten-length lead. No-one could claw it back and although the lead was whittled down slightly in the closing stages, he still landed the prize by six lengths. It was a performance no-one who was lucky enough to witness that day, will ever forget.

He went on to notch up three more Group One victories in his 3yo season, bagging the St James’s Palace at Royal Ascot, The Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and The QEII at Ascot. It was his victory over the older horse Canford Cliffs which was the most impressive, as it was his first time up against older horses and followed a barrage of attacks on Henry Cecil for allowing Tom Queally to keep the ride.

Queally allowed Frankel to take it up coming around the bend at Ascot and set sail for home over three and a half furlongs out. He built up a healthy lead before struggling to hold off the late challenge of Zoffany. He did manage to by three-quarters of a length, but questions were raised over Queally’s riding tactics.

He returned at Goodwood for the tricky four-runner field, facing older horses for the first time. The pressure was on Queally and he knew he had to deliver. There was no pace early on and he made the positive move to make the pace himself on-board Frankel, he set a steady pace and then kicked for home over a furlong and a half out. The race was over in an instant, the electric turn of foot we had came to expect from Frankel was in full force and Canford Cliffs had no answer to him, finishing a five-length second. No-one could question Frankel or Queally’s ability now.

After defeating Excelebration in another impressive display at Ascot, he was put away again for a well-deserved winter break.

217 days later, he re-appeared in the Lockinge against old rival Excelbration once more. Many wondered if he would train on and whether a four-year-old campaign would be worthwhile, whereas the majority of the racing public were just pleased they had another chance to witness the superstar in action. He cruised into the lead on the bit over a furlong out, before drawing away once more to bag his first success as a 4yo and make it ten from ten in his lifetime.

Starting at 1/10 for the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, it was definitely not a race for betting, yet it was still a race to savour. There was a big pre-race hype as to who would be more impressive during Royal Ascot, Frankel, or the wonder-mare travelling over from Australia, Black Caviar.

Frankel sent out his message during the Queen Anne, that he was not going to be knocked off his perch. An 11 length demolition of a Group One field was simply amazing. Top hats were flying in the air, cheers were ringing around, people were gob-smacked at what they had just witnessed. And still, the best was yet to come.

Sceptics had always stated that Frankel needed to race over a longer trip to truely test himself and prove his worth at the top level. Henry Cecil obliged and stated that Frankel would be heading to York for the Juddmonte International over 1 mile 2 furlongs. He gave his superstar a prep run in the Sussex Stakes, which had won 12 months previously, and it was a precession once more as Frankel demolished his three rivals at odds of 1/20.

This set him nicely for a crack at today’s Juddmonte International. The real test of how good he is. Could he handle the step up in trip? The bookmakers certainly thought so, as they priced him up at 1/10.

The anticipation was massive, as the crowds all clamoured for a photograph of the beast. The parade was packed, and Henry Cecil had made an appearance after his recent battle with cancer. There was only one thing the crowd wanted to see, and that was a Frankel victory.

There were three pace-makers declared, so there was never going to be a shortage of pace, and St Nicholas Abbey was going out to test Frankel’s reserves. Could he handle it.

Coming into the straight, Frankel was around ten lengths off the pace as he began to follow St Nicholas Abbey towards the stand rail. Queally didn’t move a muscle on his mount as he edged ever closer to St Nic. With two furlongs left to go Frankel cruised into the lead and when asked by his jockey, Frankel bounded clear to win by six lengths and showed no signs of stopping.

The crowd erupted, millions of viewers at home and in betting shops all smiling as they understand just how good this horse is. 13 wins in 13 races, including nine Group Ones. Once in a lifetime. I am 20 years of age and have already come to terms with the fact that I am very unlikely to ever witness another horse quite like Frankel.

He is a machine and over the two-years we have been luckily enough to follow him, he has changed horse-racing forever. He has brought in fans from all-over the world, who have been en-captured by his magical story and meaning to both Cecil and Prince Khalid Abdullah. He was named after the legendary American trainer Bobby Frankel, who sadly died of leukaemia in November 2009, and he has lived up to his ever so special name.

Racing fans around the world are screaming for Frankel to go to Paris in October to contest the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and I for one think it would cap off a marvellous career for both Frankel and Sir Henry, who is yet to win the big race. The whole of the world would unite and the majority would be hoping for the same outcome and what could become a very emotional afternoon in Paris.

However regardless of what Frankel does next, or if in fact he does even race again. No-one can dispute he is the greatest racehorse we have encountered in this generation, and it will take something special to top him in my lifetime. Long live ‘the freak’ Frankel.