Tapeta tapeta….and the Curragh

SAXON WARRIOR….real deal or not?

Hello.

For some reason tapeta tapeta reminds me of the Simpsons but, actually, tapeta is the All Weather surface at Newcastle where the Northumberland Plate and Vase, and a rather good Group 3 sprint, take place today. Meanwhile, at the Curragh, we have the Irish Derby, with Saxon Warrior seeking redemption after his 4th place at Epsom. I suspect he’ll show his class today. We need a star colt. Dee Ex Bee will be a tough nut to crack though.

Here are a few tips….in particular there are some great old favourite sprinters on show. For me they provide some of the greatest excitement in racing.

CURRAGH

Rockingham Handicap….5f….CASPIAN PRINCE or DUKE OF FIRENZE….each way, both classy sprinters, Caspian top weight rated 114 whereas Duke back down to potentially winning mark

Creekside Dash….6f….GORDON LORD BYRON or INTELLIGENCE CROSS….each way, Gordon great performer at the Curragh

Irish Derby….Group 1….SAXON WARRIOR….assuming that the Epsom track didn’t suit

NEWCASTLE

Chipchase Stakes….Group 3….KIMBERELLA….top weight but tough competitor

Northumberland Vase….EUCHEN GLEN….well weighted, needs luck here

Northumberland Plate….AMAZING RED….progressive, good form, well handicapped….SIR CHAUVELIN….expect to go well for Jim Goldie like Euchen Glen

Good luck!

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Carlisle Bell….so close!

CARLISLE BELL….try Googling….

Above is the Carlisle Bell, certainly the oldest trophy in racing, dated 1599 (the ‘gold’ bauble in the foreground), a decoration for a lady’s attire possibly, or for a horse. It’s a bit like a ‘Christmas decoration bell’. The two inscribed bells were race prizes back in Elizabethan times and are precious to the history of flat racing. I took the photo today at Carlisle racecourse where I went for a great hot sunny day’s racing featuring Carlisle’s most prestigious race, the Carlisle Bell Handicap over a mile with a very stiff 3f uphill finish. I had a bet on Tracy Waggott’s RASELASAD, ridden by Barry McHugh, at 50-1, a crazy price for an able horse. Barry shot out the gate and legged it, leading by 3 lengths at the turn into the uphill straight. No-one could get near him. Until the last 100 yards! When he was passed by a single horse to lose by less than a length. Bleep! So near yet so far, but what a great race for horse, jockey and trainer. As for me? I lost money today but somehow it didn’t matter on such a great afternoon’s racing for such a historic prize.

Royal Ascot….Saturday

Hello.

After another fruitless day’s betting, in a fit of pique I have had to consult favourite horse, now retired to New Beginnings near York, NANTON, for some decent odds bets on Diamond Jubilee day. He has come up with a favourite or two plus worthy outsiders.

I offer these tips….

Chesham Stakes….NATALIE’S JOY….strong form for Mark Johnstone

Hardwicke Stakes….IDAHO….good odds and strong profile here, CRYSTAL OCEAN the obvious bet

Windsor Castle Stakes….JUNIUS BRUTUS….tough to call, has chance

Diamond Nubiles Stakes….LIBRISA BREEZE….obvious alternatives including THE TIN MAN who loves Ascot

Wokingham Stakes….DANZENO….has the class to win this big Handicap; Richard Fahey has strong hand with MR LUPTON and GROWL

Queen Alexandra Stakes….THOMAS HOBSON….a cert last year, and this? Willie Mullins a master!

Good luck, especially to me!

Royal Ascot….Friday

Hello.

No joy on Day 3 with a few underperforming. Only Wild Illusion put in a decent run, with Order Of St George looking very out of sorts.

Friday includes the Commonwealth Cup sprint for the three year olds with, for me, no stand out star but also sees the French, Irish and English 1000 Guineas winners battle it out in the Coronation Stakes.

Tips are….

Albany Stakes….Group 3….6f….FAIRYLAND….hard to pick but may be best of Aidan O’Brien’s pair

King Edward VII Stakes….Group 2….1m4f….DELANO ROOSEVELT….Aidan again, would love to see WELLS FARHH GO run well

Commonwealth Cup….British Champions Series….Group 1….6f….SANDS OF MALI….impressive profile, interesting to see MAIN DESIRE stepping up from 5f, check odds

Coronation Stakes….British Champions Series….Group 1….1m….BILLESDON BROOK….brilliant shock winner at Newmarket

Sandringham Stakes….Cl 2 H’cap….1m….DARK ROSE ANGEL….Silvestre aboard, first time headgear, well weighted

Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes….Cl 2 H’cap….1m4f….FIRE FIGHTING…..lottery but tough as bleep, never runs a bad race

Good luck.

Royal Ascot….Thursday

Hello.

After a small profit yesterday thanks to Al Jazzi and a 28-1 each way bet on Flaming Spear (5th), Thursday is Gold Cup day, with Order Of St George a high class participant. However, after Cracksman’s lacklustre 2nd and Hydrangea’s poor showing, who knows!

Cracksman showed his class by finishing so close after never looking as if he was bothered to run – a worrying problem for John Gosden and his 4yo. Retirement looms if he can’t recapture his best. Blinkers? Cheek pieces?

Anyway, my tips for Thursday are….

Norfolk Stakes….Group 2….5f….VINTAGE BRUT….impressive start to 2yo campaign

Hampton Court Stakes….Group 3….1m2f….KEY VICTORY….remains open to improvement

Ribblesdale Stakes….Group 2….1m4f….WILD ILLUSION….solid Group 1 performer

Gold Cup….British Champions Series….Group 1….2m4f….ORDER OF ST GEORGE….by far the best if at his best

Britannia Stakes….Heritage H’cap….1m….CRACK ON CRACK ON….very progressive, may be well in at the weights

King George V Stakes….Cl 2 H’Cap….1m4f….COMMUNIQUE….lottery but progressive for Mark Johnston who has several runners in huge field, look for good each way odds

Good luck.

Royal Ascot….Wednesday

Hello.

Well, after a brilliant treble from Frankie, only one of which I backed, the impressive Calyx, I ended the day with a minor loss. Day 2 provides a dodgier set of races, with Cracksman the star highlight, looking to show his true ability after a narrow defeat of Salouen last time out.

Tips are….

Queen Mary Stakes….Group 2….5f….CHELSEA CLOISTERS….obvious pick for Wesley Ward

Queen’s Vase….Group 2….1m6f….NELSON….potential for A O’B

Duke Of Cambridge Stakes….Group 2….1m….ALJAZZI….sets a good standard with recent run against colts

Prince Of Wales’s Stakes….British Champions Series….Group 1….1m2f…..CRACKSMAN….shock if he loses, ideal trip

Royal Hunt Cup….Heritage Handicap….1m….GABRIAL….yes, getting on a bit but so consistent, each way, FLAMING SPEAR very able

Jersey Stakes….Group 3….7f….JAMES GARFIELD….has disappointed in last two runs but trip here may suit, potential still

Good luck.

Royal Ascot….Tuesday

Hello.

Last year Frankie Dettori missed what he calls ‘the Olympics of our sport’. Good luck this week to the flagship jockey of flat racing. We need to find his successor!

Today sees three Group 1 races. It ought to be a day for favourites but….here are my tips for all 6 races.

Queen Anne Stakes….British Champions Series….Group 1….1m….LIMATO….he probably gets his last chance today over the mile trip but can certainly take this if performing as at 6f and 7f….BENBATL also looks strong here

Coventry Stakes….Group 2….6f….CALYX….this 2yo could be a star after bolting up on debut

King’s Stand Stakes….British Champions Series….Group 1….5f….BATTAASH….if he stays calm and gets out the gate fast, otherwise LADY AURELIA will take some catching, though may be under pressure from KACHY who is good odds

St James’s Palace Stakes….British Champions Series….Group 1….1m….TIP TWO WIN….good odds after very strong 2000 Guineas performance

Ascot Stakes….Cl 2 H’cap….2m4f….STRATUM….very much a lottery, MIRSAALE a big priced outsider

Wolferton Stakes….Listed….1m2f….MIRAGE DANCER….solid chance, BIG COUNTRY impressive front running winner of Zetland Gold Cup

Good luck!

DENMAN….one of the greats

Today is a sad day for me. When I go to Cheltenham I go wearing my Denman scarf, the green and white colours worn by Sam Thomas when winning the 2008 Gold Cup by seven lengths ahead of Kauto Star and Neptune Collonges, one of the great performances at Cheltenham. Subsequently, Denman had a heart problem but came back to win the Hennessy, at top weight, for a second time, a truly astounding handicap performance harping back to the days of the peerless Arkle. Denman finished second in three subsequent Gold Cups. His passing at the age of 18 comes far too soon. He was such a marvellous jumper at speed, eating up the ground. A special horse!

Condolences to Paul Nicholls, everyone in the yard, and owner Paul Barber.

Above all, thanks to Denman for the joy and the tears and fantastic memories. I salute you!

Oaks, Derby, so much more at Epsom

Padraig Beggy flies home on WINGS OF EAGLES for shock win in 2017

Hello.

Today sees 130-rated Cracksman take on a good small field in the Coronation Cup over the Derby course of 1m4f. He should see off his rivals if anywhere near his best although Hawkbill can be a tough nut to crack. I’ll double up Cracksman with Saxon Warrior in the Derby tomorrow. Though a strong favourite he could be vulnerable to an improver having never tried the mile and a half, especially at Epsom where not all act on the downhill camber of Tattenham Corner and also because of his poor number 1 draw. His draw, and the rain, have evened up the Derby to an extent. Perhaps Young Rascal? Tomorrow also sees the Epsom Dash, a loony toon downhill sprint over 5f, ideal for Caspian Prince who has such speed that 5f is pretty well his upper limit. It’s a great race to watch and includes Duke Of Firenze who also goes very well over the trip there. Finally, we also have the Oaks today, the fillies Classic over a mile and a half. Wild Illusion is the Godolphin favourite but didn’t overly impress in the 1000 Guineas. To me, Magic Wand looks a cast iron each way bet.

Enjoy the two Classics, but Epsom offers so much more. Such a unique quirky track!

Good luck.

Tips….

Today

Mile Handicap….HIGH ACCLAIM….each way

Coronation Cup….Group 1….CRACKSMAN….of course but!

1m2f Handicap….BANDITRY….progressive, good each way odds

THE OAKS….Group 1….MAGIC WAND….around 5-1, expect to be better than his Chester win

Tomorrow

Princess Elizabeth Stakes….Group 3….DANCE DIVA….but very competitive

Diomed Stakes….Group 3….BRETON ROCK….class on his day, expect another big run from GABRIAL

The Dash….CASPIAN PRINCE….speedy, DUKE OF FIRENZE high in weights but track suits

THE DERBY….Group 1….SAXON WARRIOR….if he gets his run, and the trip, but conditions could favour a progressive like YOUNG RASCAL or DEE EX BEE…check the odds

Zetland Gold Cup….Redcar

Hello.

I go back to the year dot with the Zetland Gold Cup, a 0-100+ Handicap over 1m2f, at a perfectly flat seaside track. Many visits as a kid with my Mum, up and down the escalator (still there), the first one I ever saw in my life. For those that Google, I go back to the days of Cash And Courage and great jockeys like Joe Sime and Eddie Hide, and the top Middleham trainer, Sam Hall. Yes, old!

Last year, Briardale, currently 25-1, breezed along, demolishing a good field. Can’t do it again surely!

Here are my tips for today. Looks like hot weather which means that Redcar, with North Sea winds, will almost be warm, hopefully.

1.50….ARTHUR’S SPIRIT

2.25….ACRUX

3.00….MENDALI

3.35….WINGS OF THE ROCK

4.10….ZETLAND GOLD CUP….BIG COUNTRY….ran in the Lincoln….or SIR CHAUVELIN….Jim Goldie trains or BRIARDALE….tough call!

4.45….ARMANDIHAN

5.20….MIDNIGHT WARRIOR….enjoys Redcar, big odds, first time out

Good luck.