Craven Meeting: Be Ready For A Craven Stakes Upset

Punters should Be Ready for a Craven Stakes upset when the unbeaten Toormore clashes with Godolphin’s Be Ready

The unbeaten Richard Hannon three-year-old Toormore is odds on favourite to win the Craven Stakes before having a crack at the Guineas. The impressive Glorious Goodwood winner is currently quoted at as low as 7/1 for the 2000 Guineas and is many punters idea of a real rival to Australia and Kingman in the first colts Classic. That confidence in success may well be overlooking Be Ready who has the profile to cause an upset in the 2000 Guineas trial.  The Godolphin colt was impressive at Doncaster in his listed victory and can certainly progress from that.

Aljamaaheer and Just The Judge will add further class to the day in their respective races and should start the 2014 season with two easy victories.

Crockford’s Dead Cert – Just The Judge (Newmarket 4.40)

Just The Judge is a cut above the rest in the Earl Of Sefton and is certain to stamp her class on this field. Second last year in the 1000 Guineas this flying machine will have no trouble in putting her rivals in their place. The filly can be forgiven her two last runs.

Crockford’s Whisper – Time For Rupert e/w (Cheltenham 3.50)

It is Time For Rupert to come good at Cheltenham. This once Gold Cup fancy has shown glimmers of his old form of late and should make a bold show in this weaker field. Expect at least a place at good odds.

Archer’s Selection – Aljamaaheer (Newmarket 3.30)

Archer would have realised that this classy miler has the speed to adapt to the shorter trip. He would have certainly be up for this certain win.

Crockford’s Craven Meeting Gambles on Day Two:

Newmarket – Spirit Of Xian (1.45), Fine Tune (2.20), Johann Strauss (2.55), Aljamaaheer (3.30), Be Ready (Craven 4.05) and Just The Judge (4.40)

Cheltenham – As I Am (2.05), L’Unique (3.15), Time For Rupert e/w (3.50) and Lamb Or Cod (5.00)


(Featured Photograph – Rowley Mile at Newmarket by Stuart Rice)







Classic Talent in the St Leger

In the most open St Leger in years the Classic form of Talent, Libertarian and Galileo Rock will dominate to placings of the oldest English Classic

With the favourites priced around the 5/1 mark this morning for the Classic, today’s St Leger is one of the most open renewals since its first running in 1776.

Crockford’s ante-post selections Libertarian and Talent have attracted support as expected over the last few weeks, with Talent’s price tumbling from 20/1 to around 7/1 with firms. Trainer John Gosden has had a in excellent record in the last few years and comes to the race with the fancied Excess Knowledge. Unlucky at Glorious Goodwood in the Gordon Stakes punters have latched  on to his chances. Crockford however would ward caution that the form of his races is nowhere close to matching that of his Classic rivals – Libertarian and Talent.

Both Talent and Libertarian recorded poor runs in Ireland after their career bests in the Oaks and Derby. Crockford believes that those efforts can be excused and is certain that if near their best they will dispatch the unproven Excess Knowledge. Galileo Rock who finished behind Libertarian at Epsom ran well in front of him in the Irish Derby but may find the softening conditions against him. Foundry looked useful at York but has been overlooked by Joseph O’Brien who favours Queen’s Vase winner Leading Light. However, Moore has been booked on the right horse before – Ruler Of The World in the Derby.  Classic form will hold the key for the final Classic of the season.

Crockford’s St Leger prediction:


2 Libertarian

3 Galileo Rock

The St Leger will be supported by a good card of races this afternoon. Outstrip will look to stamp his class in the Champagne Stakes (2.05) and the filly Viztoria will hope to show that as a part of the Classic generation she has too much for her older opponents in the Park Stakes (3.15). Steps should relish conditions in the big handicap – The Portland (2.40) but will have to fend off a strong challenge from the in-form Bogart.

Crockford’s Dead Cert – Outstrip (Doncaster 2.05)

Impressive winner at HQ before just being collared at the finish by the useful Toormoor at Glorious Goodwood. He may just of gone too early that day on the Sussex Downs and the opposition today looks somewhat weaker. This Godolphin grey is a Dead Cert.

Crockford’s Whisper – Viztoria e/w (Doncaster 3.15)

This classy filly goes well first time out and will be well suited by the drop in trip to seven furlongs after slightly disappointing in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot. Connections can expect a big show from the three-year-old.

Archer’s Selection – Bishop Roko (Doncaster 4.25)

Archer would have noticed that not everything went the way of connections in the Ebor and that more can be expected from this progressive horse. The potential of this horse would have attracted the shrewd judge of flesh.

Crcokford’s gambles around the courses this afternoon:

Doncaster – Outstrip (2.05), Bogart e/w and Steps e/w (2.40), Viztoria e/w and Caspar Netscher e/w (3.15), Libertarian e/w and Talent e/w (ST LEGER – 3.50), Bishop Roko (4.25) and Heskin e/w (5.00)

Chester – Telegraph (1.50), Alejandro e/w (2.20) and Tac De Boistron (2.55)

Bath – Baytown Kestrel e/w (2.15), Plutocracy (4.35) and Fanrouge e/w (5.05)

Lingfield – Whitefall (2.30), Stars Above Me (3.40), Our Duchess (4.15), Raging Bear (4.50), The Cheka (5.20) and Pucon (5.50)


(Featured Photograph – Libertarian after the Derby by Stuart Rice)

Irish Derby: Favourite Evens But Sugar Boy Is Sweeter Price

Irish Derby favourite Ruler Of The World is evens but Crockford believes that Sugar Boy is a sweeter each way price at 7/1

Aidan O’Brien’s Epsom Derby winner is no surprise favourite for success at the Curragh this weekend but to many punters evens will not present value. The 7/1 available for Prendergast’s Sugar Boy looks much stronger value. Sugar Boy won his last outing at Sandown and had the Derby second Libertarian almost nine lengths behind him that day and is said to be in great form. With the colt being recently purchased by new connections he is bound to attract additional attention in the markets and his price will shorten. As worthier an opponent to the favourite is another O’Brien horse – Battle Of Marengo but at 10/1 he is unlikely to line up on Saturday evening. If he does and all is well those odds also present each way promise.

Be warned the prices available on Sugar Boy  for the Irish Derby are unlikely to be so sweet on the day.

(Featured Photograph – Ruler Of The World storms clear in the Derby by Stuart Rice)

Flotilla To Float Away From Rivals In Prix De Diane

Flotilla will float away from her rivals in the Prix De Diane at Chantilly adding a second French Classic to her haul

Winner of the French 1000 Guineas Flotilla has the ability to see off her rivals in the second fillies classic at Chantilly. The filly that finished second to her at Longchamp will be the main danger again today – EsoteriqueFlotilla showed impressive finishing speed at Longchamp and should not find the additional distance of the Prix De Diane (French Oaks) a problem for her. Silasol must also not be discounted as she showed the stamina and speed to grab victory in the Group One Prix Saint-Alary at Longchamp last time out. The only concern for punters is that on Flotilla’s visits to Chantilly she has been disappointing.

Having won the Breeders Cup Juvenile  Fillies Turf at Santa Anita and the French 1000 Guineas, a win at Chantilly will be certain to put her in as the leading three year old filly. Crockford believes that the 9/4 available about Flotilla looks to be outstanding value.


(Featured Photograph – Gallops at Newmarket by Stuart Rice)


Investec Derby 2013: Mars to provide Sweet Success in the Derby

Richard Hughes will partner Aidan O’Brien’s Mars in the Derby. Crockford asks will the colt provide sweet success for his rider and connections in the Derby?

Mars finished sixth in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, which was only his second appearance on a racecourse after a facile win at Dundalk last season. Highly regarded and touted the one time Derby favourite  he will have his opportunity to show his true potential on the Epsom Downs this afternoon. With the Classic looking the preserve of foreign raiders Mars looks to be the only real challenger to the unbeaten 2000 Guineas winner Dawn Approach. However, if Dawn Approach can handle the step up in distance the Bolger colt will take all the beating.

Crockford considers the field for the Investec Derby 2013:

Battle Of Marengo – The choice of Joseph O’Brien has to be respected. Winner of his last five starts including the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown he will certainly last out the distance. His last win was not the most impressive though.

Chopin – The German challenger may be overlooked by many punters, but at their peril. Purchased by Qatar Racing after his last win in Germany his connections certainly have confidence in a big run. The question is, will the German form translate here?

Dawn Approach – Unbeaten and stylish winner of the 2000 Guineas. He could be set to join recent Irish winners Camelot and Sea The Stars in doing the Classic double. The Bolger colt looks short at odds on prices.

Festive Cheer – Running on when finishing third in a Group Two at Longchamp. Could be useful but other O’Brien stablemates are preferred.

Flying The Flag – This colt will be blazing the pace for the O’Brien team and is worthy of his long odds.

Galileo Rock – This Irish entry finished ahead of Libertarian at Sandown in the Classic Trial but seems outclassed here.

Libertarian – The leading contender out of the three English trained runners. Game winner of the Dante at York but does not look to be the strongest winner of that trial. If things go right for this Mrs Burke horse he may have place claims.

Mars – If he handles the course and shows his true potential he has excellent claims. Touted as a possible winner even before his win at Dundalk. The 2000 Guineas run would have freshened him up and this distance should suit him better. Excellent booking in the shape of Richard Hughes.

Mirsaale – Winner of the Investec Derby Trial at the Epsom Spring Meeting. He clearly handles the course and should not have a problem with the extra two furlongs. Probably outclassed but overpriced at his three figure odds.

Ocean Applause – Hasn’t won in sixteen starts, this maiden will not lose that tag here in the Derby.

Ocovango – Interesting unbeaten French colt who is highly regarded. Andre Fabre has to be respected when he sends one over especially given he could have taken his chance in the French Derby on Sunday. Certainly a contender.

Ruler Of The World – Progressive O’Brien colt. Winner of the Chester Vase and at the Curragh. With Ryan Moore booked he certainly has place claims.

Crockford’s Investec Derby 2013 prediction:




Mars to provide sweet success for O’Brien and a third Classic win for Richard Hughes as Dawn Approach just fails to last home


(Featured Photography – Richard Hughes at Goodwood by Stuart Rice)










Investec Oaks 2013: O’Brien to have his Say with Moth

Crockford predicts that Aidan O’Brien will have his Say in the Oaks with his impressive 1000 Guineas third Moth

Moth’s run in the 1000 Guineas placed her in many punters notebooks for the Oaks. She was running on at Newmarket that day and looks to have the stamina and ability to be a Classic contender in the Oaks. O’Brien won the race last year with Was and is double-handed in this renewal with Moth and the progressive filly Say. Say will have to improve again if she is to figure in the finish and will probably be outclassed by her rivals.

The purchase of the visually impressive Lingfield winner Secret Gesture has attracted a lot of attention. Qatar Racing picked up their first Classic winner with Just The Judge on Sunday in the Irish 1000 Guineas and hopes to add another with his favourite this afternoon. The key question in Crockford’s mind is, how good is Secret Gesture’s form? What did she really beat that day? It is certain that tougher opposition await her on the Epsom Downs.

Crockford considers the Oaks field:

Banoffee – There is a strong whisper about this unbeaten filly. The way in which Keiron Fallon pulled her up last time suggested that there was still plenty left in the tank. The Hughie Morrison filly certainly has place claims.

Gertrude Versed – Campaigned on the all weather before finishing second to Banoffee. The placings will not be reversed today and it is hard to see her figure.

Liber Nauticus – Highly touted over the Winter and into this Spring. Disappointingly workman-like at York, this Sir Michael Stoute filly will have to improve significantly to have any chance of winning. There are safer bets elsewhere in the field.

Madame Defarge –  Third behind Talent in the Pretty Polly at Newmarket. She ran green that day and could improve still. She has good stamina in her pedigree.

Miss To You – Hard to fancy in this quality field eventhough she finished third in a Group One last season. Beaten easily by Secret Gesture at Lingfield.

Moth – Very progressive this season especially when catching the eye running into third in the 1000 Guineas. Aidan O’Brien supplemented her that day and will certainly be rewarded with at least a place today.

Roz – Competitive in good races last year and slightly disappointing in her debut run this season in the Guineas. Would have to improve but may be overpriced.

Say – Proven to stay and should relish the conditions. Each way shouts and it would not be the biggest surprise if she troubled the frame.

Secret Gesture – Purchased by Qatar Racing after her win at Lingfield. She couldn’t have won that race more easily and could be anything.

Talent – Good winner of the Pretty Polly and could be underrated due to the attention on her stablemate Secret Gesture. Could be pressing for a place at the finish.

The Lark – Whispers surrounding this horse is that the filly will relish the trip and will come on from her race Newbury. Related to the dual Oaks winner Sariska.

Crockford’s Oaks prediction:




Aidan O’Brien will have his say in another English Classic with Moth flying past her rivals in the Oaks


(Featured Photograph – Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore at Goodwood by Stuart Rice)




Irish 1000 Guineas: Just The Judge ready to rule at the Curragh

Just The Judge is ready to rule at the Curragh in the Irish 1000 Guineas this afternoon after her second in the Newmarket Classic

Just The Judge travelled well and did everything but win in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. Denied that day by the useful Sky Lantern under a brilliant ride from Richard Hughes, she may face the same threat today with Hughes riding the highly regarded Maureen. Some consider Maureen unlucky in running at Newmarket but it is not certain that she will have the class to get the better of the Hills filly. Just The Judge  is certain to be sharper for her run in the Guineas and looks attractive odds at 5/2.

With Viztoria having been withdrawn the strongest home challenge to the favourite may come from Dermot Weld’s Big Break who showed good form last season. However, there are some concerns about her preparations having missed the Newmarket Guineas. O’Brien and Ballydoyle are not without their chances with Snow Queen and Hanky Panky. However, both O’Brien fillies look short of the quality needed to win the race.

O’Brien looks certain to win a Group One this afternoon with his 2012 Classic hero – Camelot. Following his recent winning return as a four year old the Derby winner should make short work of his rivals in the Tattersalls Gold Cup (3.20). Roger Charlton’s Sandown winner Al Kazeem has been touted by many but will not have the ability to trouble the winner of three Classics. It will be interesting to see where Camelot next appears after this win.


(Featured Photograph – Gallops at Newmarket by Stuart Rice)



Longchamp & Leopardstown: More Classic Glory for Hannon & Hughes?

Olympic Glory is favourite to land the Poule D´Essai Des Poulains at Longchamp giving Hannon & Hughes their second classic victory of the season

After success at Newmarket in 1000 Guineas with Sky Lantern, Richard Hannon and Hughes may be poised to add another classic to their haul. The Greenham Stakes winner is the favourite for the French 2000 Guineas, but will face strong competition from the Newmarket winner Intello and Prix Djebel victor Style Vendome. At short prices of around 5/2 Crockford believes that the other Hannon runner Havana Gold provides more value at 20/1. Second to stablemate Toronado in the Craven Stakes Havana Gold has worthy place claims. Toronado finished a disappointing fourth in the Guineas but rumours suggest that he was not right that day. If a top form Toronado was in this line up he would certainly be favourite.

In the French 1000 Guineas (Poule D’Essai Des Pouliches) the Breeders Cup winner Flotilla has the stand out form but the progressive Fabre filly Esoterique may just improve past her to claim the prize. The British challengers in the race look outclassed and deserving of their long odds.

At Leopardstown (3.55) the Derby hopeful Battle Of Marengo looks certain to add another win to his record. The odds on favourite for the trial is quoted at 11/2 for the Epsom Classic. His price is due to shorten if he is successful today.


(Featured Photograph – Richard Hughes and Richard Hannon at Goodwood by Stuart Rice)





Excellent Guest in the Betfred Victoria Cup

Royal Hunt Cup second Excellent Guest has excellent each way chances for George Margarson in the Betfred Victoria Cup at Ascot this afternoon

Trainer George Margarson sends two good sorts in Rebellious Guest and Excellent Guest to try to claim the Victoria Cup at Ascot this afternoon. The seven furlong cavalry charge is usually a good precursor to the Royal Hunt Cup at the Royal meeting. Excellent Guest second last year in the Royal Hunt Cup has an outstanding each way change today in what looks to be an open renewal. The dangers to him are his highly tried stablemate Rebellious Guest and the top weight and recent winner Arnold Lane. Two four years olds have also caught Crockford’s eye – Well Painted and Glen Moss who could well come on this season.   The odds of 22/1 look too big to miss on the Margarson campaigner.

Main Sequence arguably the best British three year-old last year makes his seasonal debut in the Buckhounds Stakes (2.40). Gelded over the break, last year’s Derby second could be very hard to beat. The classic trials at Lingfield look weaker than usual this year with Nevis and Greatwood looking a cut above the rest in the Derby Trial (2.55). There having been a whisper from the stable for the each way chances of Northern Star in the Oaks Trial (2.20) she may also be worth a second look.

Two cracking jumps cards at Haydock and Punchestown will provide plenty of good betting opportunities for National Hunt enthusiasts. Both the Swinton (3.30) and Long Distance Hurdle (1.50) are good renewals where Crockford narrowly favours Forgotten Voice and Jetson.

Crockford’s Dead Cert – Restiadargent (Nottingham 3.55)

Probably one of the best horses ever to be entered into a race at Nottingham. Only a half a length down on Black Caviar at Royal Ascot last season she oozes class in this weak listed contest. If anywhere near her best this ex-French trained horse will win easily.

Fairy Rath holds on to win at Ascot
Fairy Rath holds on to win at Ascot

Crockford’s Whisper – Fairy Rath e/w (Haydock 4.40)

Nick Gifford’s horse was a gallant winner at Ascot and should be suited by conditions again today. Connections are bound to be talking in the Winners Enclosure again today about this each way whisper.

Archer’s Selection – Lily’s Angel (Lingfield 4.00)

Archer would have known that a shrewd trainer such as Ger Lyons is excellent at placing his horses. An impressive winner last time out she would have been his ride today.

Crockford’s gambles around the courses this afternoon:

Ascot – Langavat (1.30), Harvard N’ Yale (2.05), Main Sequence (2.40) and Excellent Guest e/w (3.50)

Haydock – Jetson e/w (1.50), Forgotten Voice e/w and Baby Mix e/w (3.30), Pastoral Player (4.05) and Fairy Rath e/w (4.40)

Lingfield – Northern Star e/w (2.20), Greatwood (2.55), Lily’s Angel (4.00) and Corporal Maddox e/w (4.35)

Nottingham – Duke Cosimo (2.15), Restiadargent (3.55) and Magog (4.30)

Punchestown – City Slicker (2.00), Western Man e/w (3.10), Shot From The Hip e/w (3.45), White Star Line (4.20) and Stonemaster e/w (4.55)

(Featured Photograph- George Margarson and Alistair Down at Goodwood by Stuart Rice)

(Photograph – Fairy Rath holds off Greywell Boy at Ascot by Stuart Rice)



1000 Guineas 2013: Hot Snap to continue?

Will Sir Henry Cecil’s Hot Snap continue her unbeaten run in the 200th running of the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket today? Crockford reviews the field and her opposition

British punters have been enjoying the first real days of Spring in the last week but can Cecil’s Hot Snap continue to warm her followers hearts by winning the fillies classic? Sir Henry’s filly was so impressive in her win of the Nell Gwyn at the Craven Meeting that she was immediately made favourite for the Guineas. Even though still green in running she quickened up nicely to make her rivals look  almost ordinary. Connections of the second that day, Sky Lantern and some punters believe that the Hannon filly may get closer to her today but all clues suggest that she can not reverse the placings. Unfortunately for Richard Hughes it looks after yesterday’s disappointment in the 2000 Guineas that he will have to wait still longer for his first English Classic winner.

The French filly What A Name could give Hot Snap the most to think about. Second to Olympic Glory at the Arc meeting she appears to have the strongest form in the book and will be fit from her game win a few weeks ago. Ryan Moore hopefully we not be feeling the effects of jet setting back from the Kentucky Derby when he takes his ride on Snow Queen for Aidan O’Brien. Her patchy form is a worry for Crockford but she must be also worth considering given her riders travels. If you believe what they say about Just The Judge being a flying machine she should not be far away from calculations too.

Crockford assesses the runners for the 200th renewal of the 1000 Guineas:

Agent Allison – Some good form last season and not far behind Maureen in her seasonal reappearance in the Fred Darling at Newbury. Probably will find a few too good for her in this.

Celtic Filly – Interesting runner but probably worthy of the large prices on offer for her.

Diaminda – Behind Winning Express at Salisbury and should not be able to reverse that form in a much hotter race today.

Hot Snap – Extremely impressive in the Nell Gwyn when running very greenly. Her turnout of foot in the race was breathtaking and the distance will suit her. Must be on the short-list of any punter.

Just The Judge – Unbeaten and an absolute flying machine on the gallops according to reports. It will be a big ask to win first time out but it is certainly not impossible. This filly could be anything.

Masarah –  Stayed on well to win last time at Ascot but looks outclassed here against these smart rivals.

Maureen – Winner of the Fred Darling and may be overlooked by punters. One of a good pair for Richard Hannon.

Moth – Won easily at the Curragh and was subsequently supplemented for this race. The question must be who and what did she beat on her last run? Joseph O’Brien favours her over the stablemate Snow Queen.

Ollie Olga – Game winner when beating Sky Lantern at Goodwood last season. Only one disappointing run last year and may come back today with the same verve she showed last year. Possible each way claims at a big price.

Rasmeyaa – Dermot Weld should never be underestimated as a trainer and this filly was an easy winner last season on her second run. The markets may reveal her chances.

Roz – Second to the one time favourite Certify in the Group One at Newmarket last season. Probably would still have something to find to be in the mix here.

Sky Lantern – If this filly puts in a display of her best form she will have a live chance. However, it is still likely that there will be one or two too good for her.

Snow Queen – Probably not up to this standard as shown by her racing last season. The only reason to give her a second look would be the transatlantic efforts of her jockey.

What A Name – Mixed it with the best colts last season. This tough filly will be fit after her battling win at Maisons Laffitte and could be the one to beat.

Winning Express – This consistent filly will be there or thereabouts but will find the class of others too much for her.

Crockford’s prediction for the 1000 Guineas:




Crockford believes that Sir Henry Cecil will have enough classic filly to treasure as long as her inexperience does not make her vulnerable to the tough French filly or alleged flying machine.


(Featured Photograph – Richard Hughes and Sky Lantern at Goodwood by Stuart Rice)