London Racing Club Ascot preview evening
6th June 2011
Panellists: Tony Calvin, Betfair (TC); Angus McNae, RUK (AN); Nick Smith, Ascot (NS); James Willoughby (JW)
– (TC) Surprised that Canford Cliffs is currently favourite (6/5), but ‘punters gravitate towards the unknown’.
– (TC) Potential angle in taking on the market and laying the front two, effectively giving the field at 13/2; plenty of potential improvers in behind, with ~5lb to find on Timeform ratings.
– (JW) CC ‘doesn’t really stay a mile, but Hughes rides him brilliantly’; Cape Blanco a live threat (Irish Champion Stakes a good formline) could be a back-to-lay play as he’ll have to go from the front.
– (NS) Rio de la Plata as a potential Godolphin chance, ‘but can’t really see anything troubling the big three’; agree on Cape Blanco chance but believe CC is a worthy favourite as everything geared towards Breeders’ Cup for Goldikova.
– (JW) Star Witness twice ran Black Caviar to 4l in October/November; unsettled before the start last time out and ?forgiven that run, but some in Aus believe he’s trained off.
– (NS) Holiday for Kitten a live chance for Wesley Ward: ‘could run well but may not be quite good enough’.
– (JW) Bridgetown (Todd Fletcher) ‘blazingly fast’, could lead if good draw.
St James’s Palace
– (NS) ‘The only thing that can beat Frankel is Frankel’.
– (JW) ‘Frankel is one of the most fascinating horses to analyse in my lifetime’; ‘some trainers were convinced after the Guineas that he’s now a tearaway and cannot be restrained’, but if he can run even fractions to 142 ‘he’ll be 10l clear of everything’.
– (JW) Excelebration ‘wildly impressive’ in German Guineas.
– (NS) Temps Au Temps likely to be French representative (not Tin Horse)
Prince of Wales
– (NS) Planteur is a ‘solid yardstick but absolutely beatable’; currently a question mark over plans for Workforce as Twice Over ‘will run’, ‘but Khalid Abdulla never afraid to have more than one runner in the race’.
– (NS) Rewilding very impressive in Dubai but doubts over step down in trip.
– (TC) So You Think is ‘the hype horse of the meeting’, currently trading at 4/7 but expects it to go off much shorter, perhaps 2/5; Planteur form from Prix Ganay worked out very well with Sarafina, Cape Blanco, Silver Pond in behind.
– (JW) SYT ‘creates a very unusual impression, very heavy-topped but in running could be 15hh’; ‘very excited about this horse: he’s absolutely extraordinary on Aus form, and will likely end up rated even higher’.
– (NS) Ballydoyle ‘cannot believe what they have’ in SYT; ‘I’d rather back him than Frankel’; Melbourne Cup 3rd ‘remarkable’ after pulling hard for ¾ of the race.
– (JW) Rite of Passage ‘a very strong stayer’; project horse in Geordieland, ‘waited on hand and foot’ by Jamie Osborne, trained well since March and could go well fresh at a big price [but TC, ‘he travels well but then doesn’t find anything’].
– (TC) Duncan, question marks over attitude but on Prix Foy form, and win over Blue Bajan on reappearance should go close – maybe a doubt over stamina.
– (NS) Interested in Duncan, Askar Tau, Kasbah Bliss (‘knocking on a bit but laid out for this race’)
– (TC) Delegator currently trading favourite at 5/1, but money for Hinchinbrook (16s from 25)
– (NS) Very unlikely Star Witness will double up here, more likely to be aimed at July Cup
– (TC) Live outsider in Hitchens, ‘there’s often not much between an improving handicapper and the best of these’, currently trading at 40s.
– (JW) Elzaam, ‘very good last time out at Newbury, seemed to quicken clear and then find yet another gear’, ‘an exciting horse in a tricky and open race – a great race for punting’.
– (JW) Also Kingsgate Native, ‘very good down the centre at Haydock’, won this in 2008; ‘Ascot form is a massive plus on the straight track’.
– (NS) ‘Misty for Me is the best horse in the race, but not sure she’ll go here’.
– (TC/JW) Sharnberry a live chance for En Dunlop at a double-figure price.
– (panel) Also chances for Maqaasid (if she gets a mile), Memory, Barefoot Lady, More Than Real (but Breeders’ Cup the probable target).
– (TC) Four of Timeform’s top 15 juveniles trained by Wesley Ward: Italo likely to go here, Gentlemans Code to the Windsor, Judy the Beauty to Queen Mary/Albany, Everyday Brave to Norfolk.
– (JW) Crown Dependency a live chance here; also Gatepost.
– (AN) Pyman’s Theory (named after James Pyman’s theory that progeny of Exceed And Excel run well at Ascot) has a chance at 16/1.
– (TC) Also Judy the Beauty (see above).
– Hoof It in the Wokingham
– Leviathan in the Hunt Cup
– Havane Smoker in the Jersey
– Zain Al Boldan in the Ribblesdale
– Nick Smith – Star Witness
– Tony Calvin – Planteur (e/w)
– Angus McNae – Hoof It [later selected by the panel as their £50 charity bet]
– James Willoughby – Sharnberry
I’m indebted to Rob Hayward for sending me the transcript. You can follow Rob on twitter here