The Exception to the Rule


Saturday, 20 April 2019

2yo Lady Kermit Heading to Royal Ascot for Archie Watson

Archie Watson horse trainer
Archie Watson has made a fast and furious start to the two-year-old season with a sparkling array of talent. In fact, he had four two-year-old debut winners in a span of just twelve days, leaving his peers wondering what is his secret. 

Lady Kermit was one of those gifted two-year-olds. This bay filly, a daughter of Starspangledbanner was all the rage when backed to even-money favourite on her debut at Kempton. Even a wide draw did little to hamper her precocity as she stormed to the rail and leading into the final furlong forged clear to win by an impressive six lengths. Clearly, the dogs hadn't been singing: ''Halfway up the stairs is a stair where I sit...'' as her reputation preceded this January foal. 

Connections and backers alike weren't scared of this speedy filly carrying a win penalty or contesting the Ladbrokes Home Of The Odds Boost Fillies' Conditions Stakes (Plus 10 Race) over 5f. Lady Kermit was backed to 1/4f even though she had a previous winner in opposition [Chasanda] and eight debutantes, some who are very capable juveniles. 

Lady Kermit led from start to finish and won a shade cosily by just under two lengths. She looks a classy filly who is likely to be heading to Royal Ascot. 

Other two-year-old winners include Electric Ladyland, Exclusively & Lambeth Walk. 

Thursday, 18 April 2019

George Scott's Strong Power takes on Godolphin Quartet

Middleham Park Racing (Newmarket)
2:25 Newmarket - 

As detailed many times thus far, we have just one significant entry to glean information and that's the Brocklesby Stakes. Don't worry, we will have much more information coming as the season progresses. To be fair, the Brocklesby has detailed a few winners including Show Me Show Me, Zulu Zander & Birkenhead, alongside placed efforts such as Heer We Go Again, Paddy Elliot & Bendy Spirit. 

George Scott's Strong Power finished second in the Brocklesby Stakes and did little wrong, a battling type who was passed in the closing half furlong, beaten by three-quarters of a length. As the form has proven, this son of Kodiac is up to winning a race. Whether he is good enough to deny not one but four horses representing Godolphin only time will tell. Saeed bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby have a couple of juveniles each. I've never seen the fourth colours (black hat) (so I wonder if they have some kind of blackhat magic going That's a joke, of course. But it is interesting to imagine if they have ten runners in a race what coloured hats would be seen for the first time! Anyway, little things for little minds, hey. 

Charlie Appleby's Well Of Wisdom (black cap) is, at the time of writing, the most fancied of the quartet. 

We have another experienced horse who didn't run in the Brocklesby but was entered who made his debut at Windsor. Interesting to see how Richard Hannon's Lexington Quest goes here. He was very well backed on his racecourse bow but didn't achieve a great deal. It could well be the case this son of Ivawood disappointed. That may well need to be the excuse because this looks a tougher race. I wouldn't be holding my breath but neither would I lay this horse to lose at 20/1. I do think it was a significant entry being earmarked for the Doncaster race and I suspect a better performance will be seen today. 

In truth, it looks a tricky race and I would take a watching brief unless you fancy a speculative punt on Lexington Quest if you can get some crazy odds on the exchanges and cross your fingers and toes. He may be backed if the sound of the Thames got to him that day at Windsor.

5:25 Chelmsford - 

Just a quick note detailing any Brocklesby runners/entrants here. Michael Appleby has Gracie's Girl taking part. She held an entry for the Brocklesby and since been a non-runner for whatever reason. This daughter of Heeraat is out of a debut-winning mare [Queen's Revenge] who looked quite promising for Tim Easterby and competed in the Hilary Needler Trophy Conditions Stakes at Beverly and raced at Listed class at two and three. Gracie's Girl cost just £4,000 at the yearling sales in the ownership of Robin Oliver, who is a loyal patron of The Homestead Stables in Oakham, Leicestershire. This Novice Auction Stakes is a pretty restrictive race which means it shouldn't take the world of winning. Appleby had three entered two-year-olds last season: Loch Ness Monster, Aquarius & Walkman. Loch Ness Monster & Aquarius proved capable juveniles achieving winning status, the latter on debut, and competed at Group class. 

In truth, Appleby doesn't have the largest string of two-year-olds and they can be the good, bad and ugly. Would I bet on Gracie's Girl at 20/1? No. But it wouldn't be the biggest surprise to see her run a race. 

Please note all three horses noted are forwarded simply because they held an entry for the Brocklesby Stakes.  

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Hell Of A Joker & Birkenhead in Search of Elusive First Win

Mick Channon 2yo horse racing tips
A couple of two-year-old races at Beverley with the first division detailing a couple of two-year-olds which took part in the Brocklesby Stakes, now hoping to make their experience count at this racecourse in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The official going is described as good to firm. Stalls position on the inside rail. 

2:15 Beverley

Find Promo Codes At EBF Novice Auction Stakes (Div I) (Class 5) (2yo) Winner £4,033 11 runners 5f Good To Firm RTV (STALLS Inside)

Bill Turner, who has won the Brocklesby six times in recent years, failed to shine with Hell Of A Joker who finished fourteenth at odds of 10/1. This son of Hellvelyn showed pace but faded tamely in the final two furlongs. That will need to have been a disappointment for a chance to hit the frame today. Cheekpieces have been applied which suggests there may be some hope of improvement.

Mick Channon has Birkenhead making his third run. In the ownership of Channon, this son of Captain Gerrard was relatively fancied and finished in sixth place. That initial experience was hoped to be the answer when started 6/5f at Lingfield. To be fair, he ran well but could never get to grips with Archie Watson Electric Ladyland who is one of four debutantes to win in just twelve days. 

From a statistical point of view, Rod Millman's Betty's Hope has fair claims. With a prime draw, this bay daughter of Anjaal ran into second place on debut at Kempton when thrashed by Lady Kermit, who looks a talented horse. 

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Chasing Dreams Hot Favourite at Newmarket for Charlie Appleby

Charlie Appleby Chasing Dreams at Newmarket
4:10 Newmarket - 

5f (Row) bet365 British EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes (Plus 10 Race) (Class 4) (2yo)

Arasugar is the only significantly-entered juvenile in the field. Seamus Mullins bay daughter of Arakan was sent off a 100/1 shot when making her debut in the Brocklesby Stakes at Doncaster. She showed good pace before tiring in the closing stages when finishing fifth behind Show Me Show Me who looks a fair type for Richard Fahey. The form of the Brocklesby has been franked by the third-placed Zulu Zander winning at Leicester, while the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth have been placed on their next starts. Arasugar isn't without ability, but this looks a tough heat with a very expensive horse in opposition. 

If money talks, Chasing Dreams, trained by Charlie Appleby, should take all the stopping. This chestnut filly is sired by Starspangledbanner out of a winning mare. She cost 750,000 gns at the yearling sales. 

Monday, 15 April 2019

Bendy Spirit Returns after Brocklesby Stakes Debut

2:20 Pontefract - 

The Brocklesby Stakes is the only significant entry we have to work with at this moment. However, the race has resulted in a couple of fair types. Certainly, the winner Show Me Show Me, in the familiar silks of Ontoawinner, looks a decent prospect and David Evans Zulu Zander ran out an easy winner at Leicester. In fact, the Brocklesby Stakes sixth, seventh & eighth has all run respectably on their second and third starts. That brings us to Bendy Spirit who finished ninth on debut at Doncaster. Similarly trained as Show Me Show Me by Richard Fahey, this son of Helmet showed bright speed but tired markedly in the closing stages to finish thirteen lengths behind the winner. As far as form goes, it didn't look the most illuminating result. On the upside, Bendy Spirit was priced at odds of 14/1, which may suggest he was in need in the race. The style of the run gave that impression too. Being on the sidelines for just over two weeks should be ample time to have this colt primed for the day and that valuable experience will be to his advantage. 

Richard Fahey's Brocklesby entrants/runners from previous years have been up to winning standard, which gives Bendy Spirit some hope. Also, Pontefract is a course the trainer has done well with his juveniles, especially on their second start. 

I suspect Bendy Spirit will run a better race today although there is plenty of competition from the two favourites with Mark Johnston's Alminoor looking a talent when narrowly foiled on debut at Musselburgh, while Danny Ocean, trained by Karl Burke in the Onetoawinner silks, is sure to improve a good deal on his first start at Leicester where he looked ring rusty but ran on with verve.

All three horses are worthy of respect. Shame this race isn't for three places because it would bring a few options. Personally, I will be taking a watching brief unless Danny Ocean or Bendy Spirit drift to much bigger odds. 

Friday, 12 April 2019

Friday's Update (12th April)

Roger Varian trains Farnham at Newbury
Another long week. The endurance test of updating all the horse trainer stats is both revealing and distracting. I will be pleased when all have been completed. I image it will take a couple more weeks. I'm just thankful the two-year-old racing is slow to get started. 

I don't know about you, but I find it difficult to focus on too many things at once. I would much rather complete one lot of work before moving onto the next. That just isn't possible with the horse trainer stats. 

Anyway, it isn't a longterm problem. 

Looking at the sole two-year-old race (2:00 Newbury). It will be a watching brief for me. There is just one horse running that holds a Brocklesby Stakes entry. Barry Magoo, trained by Adam West. I noticed this horse was entered to race at Leicester but withdrawn. It would be a major surprise if he won this race. 

From a statistical point of view, Clive Cox's Klopp Of The Kop could go well. 

I will be watching and assessing. Debutantes can be very hard work. So I am not in any rush to put my money down. 

Interesting to note that one of the horses on last year's 10 Dark Horse Mailing is finally making her debut as a three-year-old. Roger Varian's Farnham was given by us as a horse of interest. There may have been a few issues along the way which meant connections kept her for this new season. 

It proves a point we know what we are talking about as she is priced 6/4 in the 5:50 Newbury. 

Monday, 8 April 2019

Monday's 2yo Racing Update

Qatar horse racing (Redcar)
I must apologise for being quiet. I'm still working on the horse trainer statistics which are taking longer than expected. It is literally like painting the Forth bridge, with a dicky brush. The data is very interesting but it really is boring to complete. However, it is a job which needs doing and I will be doing my utmost to get the majority of it signed off this week. It has spurred me on because there are few two-year-old races these next four or five days. 

I'm sure you have noticed a couple of two-year-old races for Monday. 

2:00 Redcar - 

I'm not going to write a great deal about either of these races as I much prefer to watch the early races. Archie Watson has got off to a decent start with a couple of winners and Exclusively is well owned. The betting details a big run is expected. 

2:50 Windsor - 

Brocklesby fourth place Dorchester Dom ran well enough on debut. The third horse that day, also trained by David Evans, won well at Leicester. I'm not keen on betting short prices at the best of times. This son of Starspangledbanner has valuable experience which counts for a lot against debutants. There's always the worry something will pop up and make the jolly backers not so happy.  Interesting to see how Richard Hannon's Lexington Quest goes. This son of Ivawood cost £32,000 at the yearling sales when purchased to by Peter & Ross Doyle Bloodstock (who buy a lot for Hannon). Now in the ownership of Middleham Park Racing. Worth noting this April foal (24th April, so not quite two) was given a Brocklesby Stakes entry. The sole entrant for Hannon. I think we have to go back to 2016 for the last time Hannon had a horse entered or run in the Brocklesby. In that year he had Tomily and Bismark The Flyer. Tomily won a couple of times at two and turned out to be a very talented gelding. Bismarck The Flyer won a couple of times at two, the first victory at selling class. Lexington Quest isn't without a chance here and I would take the Brocklesby entry as a positive.   

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Tuesday's Racing Update (2nd April)

Just a quick update. We have a couple of two-year-old races going today:

2:15 Musselburgh - 

Looks a competitive heat. Interesting to see how Keith Dalgleish' Gina D'Cleaner goes. Doesn't look fancied in the betting but this daughter Equiano held an entry for the Brocklesby Stakes. However, the stable can win on debut at decent odds.     

2:30 Lingfield -  

A couple running here who made their debut in the Brocklesby Stakes: Birkenhead and Here We Go Again. Not a great deal between the two at Doncaster. Racecourse experience is a big advantage at this time of the year, especially on turning courses where runners are prone to racing wide. Interesting to see how Archie Watson's Electric Ladyland goes from a very wide draw. This Irish-bred daughter of Cable Bay has been quite well backed. This 35,000 euro yearling buy could well have ability, especially of interest if strongly fancied at the off. 

Picture: Keith Dalgleish

Sunday, 31 March 2019

2019 Brocklesby Stakes Winner Show Me Show Me

Show Me Show Me Brocklesby Stakes 2019 Winner
It doesn't take long for the cream to rise to the top. 

I'm sure that's what Richard Fahey and Ontoawinner thought when Show Me Show Me did just that by winning the Brocklesby Conditions Stakes (Saturday 30th March) at Doncaster's Lincoln Meeting. 

This bay colt, a son of Showcasing out of an unraced mare, was very well backed on the exchanged (7/1) to a starting price of 11/4. Clearly, a precocious two-year-old, this good-looking, athletic juvenile always travelled well and knuckled down to win a shade cosy from George Scott's Strong Power who ran well in second place, while David Evans' Zulu Dancer & Dorchester Dom finished third and fourth respectively.

Show Me Show Me looks an inspired yearling purchase at just £24,000. 
Ontoawinner is no stranger to very talented thoroughbreds and this April foal looks capable of defying a winning penalty. It will be interesting to see if he is pencilled in for the Lily Agnes Stakes at Chester.  

Wherever this two-year-old goes connections will be hopeful of more success.

Monday, 25 March 2019

2019 Brocklesby Stakes Entries Declared

2019 Brocklesby Stakes Entries Declared
Well, the journey has started. 

The first significant entry of the British 2yo Flat season 2019 has been declared. In fact, twenty-five two-year-old have been forwarded by trainers for the 4:10 Doncaster (30th March) for the 5f (5f 3y) Unibet Brocklesby Conditions Stakes (Plus 10 Race) (Class 3) (2yo)

At present, the going condition is good to soft. 

As readers may be aware, these entries are the starting point for Group Horse [Daily] in our pursuit to name the best two-year-old horses in training. 

The information will be updated on a regular basis to this page Group Horses 2019. By the time the season ends, you will understand why you need to keep glued to this page because it will detail the very best unraced and lightly race two-year-old horses in Britain & Ireland.  

The 25 Brocklesby Entries will most likely be cut down in size at the final declaration stage although it is possible there could be two divisions if more than the maximum number of 22 allowed in the race.[unlikely]. 

A few interesting notes. Most significant trainers include:

Mick Channon has two entrants: Birkenhead & Sir Gordon

Richard Fahey has two entrants: Bendy Spirit & Show Me Show Me.

David Evans, no stranger to early-season two-year-old races has four horses entered: Dark Optimist, Dorchester Dom, Heer We Go Again & Zulu Zander

Bill Turner Brocklesby Stakes Winner
Bill Turner has a solitary entrant in the shape of Hell Of A Joker, a son of Hellvelyn out of a twice-winning sprint mare in the ownership of John Pyatt. Turner has made his name in the Brocklesby Stakes race over the years with horses such as The Lord (2002).   

Richard Hannon has the sole entry of Lexington Quest, who is sired by Ivawood, in the ownership of Middleham Park Racing and £32,000 yearling purchase. 

Kilham is trained by Declan Carroll who sent out the smart Santry in 2017. 

Other significant trainers include: 

Kevin Ryan has a Coast Of Dubai entered at this first declaration stage of the Brocklesby Stakes 2019. 

Charles Hills has an early two-year-old in Walton Thorns. This son of Zebedee has Robert Winston booked to ride. This 45,000 guineas yearling looks set to race. 

Interesting to note that Mark Tompkins has a couple of juveniles entered. Fajoora & Prosecutor are unlikely to be winning on debut, as the Newmarket trainer has a poor strike rate with debutantes. 

Other possible runners:

Gracie's Girl (Michael Appleby)

Victochop (George Baker)

Gina D'Cleana & Handlebars (Keith Dalgliesh)

Paddy Elliot (Brian Ellison)

Richard Rhb (David Loughnane)

Arasugar (Seamus Mullins)

Strong Power (George Scott) 

Anna Fallow (Ronald Thompson) 

Barry Magoo (Adam West)

Notable omissions:

Mark Johnston, who won this race with Ravenhoe (2015) & the classy The Last Lion (2016) doesn't have an entry for the 2019 Brocklesby Conditions Stakes. 

I will update this page when the final declarations have been made.  

Friday, 22 March 2019

Flat Season 2019 Preview

Flat Season 2019 Preview
The 2019 flat season will begin in earnest with the Guineas Festival on May 4-5 and punters are excitedly counting down the days. It features the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas, the first two Classics of the year, and the meeting ushers in months of spectacular action. There are 915 flat fixtures in total this year and fans can look forward to all manner of intriguing Group 1 contests before the season draws to a close on October 19. Here are the key meetings to look out for: 

Guineas Festival 

All eyes will be on Aidan O’Brien at this year’s Guineas Festival at Newmarket, as the Ballydoyle maestro has dominated this meeting of late. He landed the 1,000 Guineas in 2016 and 2017, and he has won the 2,000 Guineas in three of the last four years. However, much of the hype this year surrounds John Gosden’s Too Darn Hot, who is the clear ante-post favourite for the 2,000 Guineas. He is also favoured to win the other two legs of the Triple Crown – The Derby at Epsom and St Leger. Last year saw Saxon Warrior clinch the 2,000, while Billesdon Brook triumphed in the 1,000. 

Dante Festival

Racegoers can enjoy three days of high-quality action at York in May, including the Musidora Stakes, the Dante Stakes and the Yorkshire Cup. The victors of the Dante and the Musidora will be among the favourites for the Classics, while the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup is always ferociously competitive. Last year, Stradivarius romped to victory and that win marked the start of an epic winning streak. He went on to claim the Ascot Gold Cup, the Goodwood Cup, the Lonsdale Cup and the British Champions Long Distance Cup to cement his superstar status. 

Epsom Derby Festival

The Derby is considered by many to be the greatest and most prestigious race in the world. It has spawned a huge number of imitators, including the Kentucky Derby, but this is the biggest of them all and the most prestigious of the five Classics. It is the centrepiece of two excellent days of racing at Epsom, but you should also look out for the Oaks and the Coronation Cup. Masar won The Derby in 2018, and Too Darn Hot is the favourite to follow in those illustrious footsteps, but the likes of Dubai Warrior and Anthony Van Dyck are expected to provide stern competition. 

Royal Ascot 

The Royal Family will be out in full force at the richest and most famous race meeting in the British racing calendar. This year it takes place from June 18-22 and a total prize pool of £7.3 million will attract many of the world’s finest racehorses. It features eight Group 1 races, more than any other meeting of the year, and the Ascot Gold Cup is the biggest of the lot. Stradivarius is sure to be a big focus for any punters looking at the betting lines, but big hitters like Kew Gardens should also line up and it promises to be another gripping contest. The Queen Anne Stakes, King’s Stand Stakes, St James’s Palace Stakes, Prince of Wales’s Stakes, Commonwealth Cup, Coronation Stakes and Diamond Jubilee Stakes will also command huge attention. 

Eclipse Summer Festival 

The next Group 1 race of the season is the £750,000 Eclipse Stakes, named after a legendary 18th-century racehorse. It takes place at Sandown Park in Surrey and it is the centrepiece of a two-day festival on July 5-6. In 2017, the venerable Sir Michael Stoute tied the record for the most wins in this race when Ulysses landed, while jockey Oisin Murphy claimed his first ever Group 1 winner last year in the Eclipse. 

July Festival 

Attention shifts back to Newmarket later in July for three days of fun. The 6 furlong July Cup is Europe’s leading spring race and the roll call of recent winners includes US Navy Flag, Harry Angel and Limato. Lester Piggott won this race a record 10 times during his glorious career. 

King George Weekend

The £1.25 million King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes is the highlight of the second most important meeting at Ascot. Poet’s World edged Crystal Ocean in a thrilling duel last year and it always provides a great spectacle. 

Glorious Goodwood

This is a magnificent meeting at one of the world’s most beautiful racetracks, nestled in the heart of the Sussex countryside. This year it takes place from July 30 to August 3 and fans can look forward to five wonderful days of racing. The three big races are the Goodwood Cup, the Sussex Stakes and the Nassau Stakes, but there is top-notch action throughout the festival. Stradivarius will attempt to defend the Goodwood Cup this year and that will be one of many highlights at Glorious Goodwood. 

Ebor Festival

This four-day bonanza begins with York’s richest race of the season, the Juddmonte Stakes. Previous winners include the legendary Frankel, while Stoute is the most successful trainer. Roaring Lion went on to win this race last year and an extremely strong field is expected in 2019. Also, look out for the Yorkshire Oaks and the Nunthorpe Stakes at this August meeting. 

St Leger Festival

Twenty-five thousand racing fans will pack into Doncaster to watch the best in the business battle it out for glory in St Leger in September. O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore are bidding for a hat-trick this year after Capri won in 2017 and Kew Gardens last year. 

British Champions Day

The season will wrap up in style at the British Champions Day at Ascot, which will be the most valuable day of racing in British history. Prize money across the six-race card for 2019 will be a record £4.35 million. Four of the races are Group 1 contests: the British Champions Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, the Champion Stakes and the British Champions Sprint Stakes. Cracksman and Roaring Lion were among the superstar winners last year and new legends are sure to be crowned this time around.