Royal Ascot 2015: Candy Sweet On Limato In Commonwealth

Trainer Henry Candy is sweet on his flying machine Limato in the inaugural Commonwealth Cup

Henry Candy is confident of a big run for Limato in the inaugural running of the Group One Commonwealth Cup. The flying machine will relish the firm conditions and has form at the course. Only beaten when the conditions didn’t suit, Limato will have the pace to live with the likes of Tiggy Wiggy and the US raider Hootenanny. In what is a great race and a brilliant new initiative, punters would also be foolish to overlook Kool Kompany who has the class to be a contender too.

CROCKFORD’S DEAD CERT – ALOFT (QUEEN’S VASE 5.35)

Eye-catching entry from a horse who will be making his seasonal debut in race that is a mile more than he has raced before. Excellent form last year including a second in the Racing Post points to enough Moore and O’Brien winner.

CROCKFORD’S WHISPER – LAXFIELD ROAD E/W (ALBANY 2.30)

Dettori teams up with the brilliant Wesley Ward on this US challenger. Ward has a real knack in these contests, expect another bold show.

ARCHER’S SELECTION – FOUND (CORONATION 4.20)

Archer would have noticed the exceptional form of O’Brien and Moore. Given that purple patch he would have wanted to be on this talented filly.

LUCKY CHANCER – KOOL KOMPANY E/W (COMMONWEALTH CUP 3.40)

In what is a fascinating race, this Lucky Chancer seems to have been overlooked. With plenty of talent and speed, the Craven Stakes winner is worth a gamble at around 40/1.

Crockford’s Royal Ascot Gambles on Day Three:

Laxfield Road e/w and Back At The Ranch (Albany 2.30), Balios (King Edward VII 3.05), Hootenanny, Limato e/w and Kool Kompany e/w (Commonwealth Cup 3.40), Found (Coronation 4.20),  Azurite e/w (Duke Of Edinburgh 5.00) and Aloft (Queen’s Vase 5.35)

 

(Featured Photograph – Henry Candy at Glorious Goodwood by Stuart Rice)

Royal Ascot 2015: Golden Forgotten Rules Of Royal Ascot

Punters golden Forgotten Rules of Royal Ascot is to back a Dermot Weld horse for the feature race

With the master trainer having landed the gamble yesterday with the brilliant Free Eagle in the Prince Of Wales Stakes, punters should look no further than him repeating the feat with Forgotten Rules in the Gold Cup today.  Weld’s stayer may well want the ground softer but so will many of his rivals including the notably over-priced Tac De Boistron (who has the pick of the form). In what looks a weak renewal of the great race, Weld’s horse stands out. Expect him to be ready and for him to add to his previous Ascot success last autumn.

CROCKFORD’S DEAD CERT – TIME TEST (TERCENTENARY 3.05)

Good winner of the London Gold Cup at Newbury and has excellent form lines from last season. The horse he beat last time is the warm favourite for the last race on the card. Expect a win.

CROCKFORD’S WHISPER – TAC DE BOISTRON E/W (GOLD CUP 4.20)

This whisper has the pick of the form in the book and always travels impressively. He has attractive each way odds that make a gamble worthwhile even on a surface faster than preferred.

ARCHER’S SELECTION – KING OF ROOKS (NORFOLK 2.30)

Archer would have fought to be on this speedster. Highly regarded and an impressive winner of the National Stakes at Sandown where he beat the Coventry winner Buratino.

LUCKY CHANCER – ROTHERWICK E/W (BRITANNIA 5.00)

With some excellent form in the book, this Lucky Chancer is well over-priced at around 25/1. He chased the Derby second home in his last race and has a good form-line with yesterday’s Jersey winner Dutch Connection.

Crockford’s Royal Ascot Gambles on Day Three:

Pamona e/w and Gretchen e/w (Ribblesdale 3.40), Forgotten Rules (Gold Cup 4.20), Dissolution and Scottish e/w (King George V 5.35)

(Featured Photograph – Dermot Weld by Stuart Rice)

Royal Ascot 2015: Free Eagle To Soar For Weld

Free Eagle to soar for Dermot Weld in the Group One Prince Of Wales’s Stakes on Day Two of Royal Ascot 2015

The Irish trained Free Eagle will head a stella cast for the Group One feature on day two of Royal Ascot 2015. Third last year in the Champion Stakes on soft ground, the Weld trained four-year-old will return to the course with conditions now in his favour. Always highly regarded by connections Free Eagle will face stiff competition from foreign raiders that include the talented Japanese horse Spielberg and home based talent such as the Grey Gatsby. If the talk is true though he should soar above his rivals and confirm the reasons for his favouritism.

The Royal Hunt Cup looks to be a strong renewal where GM Hopkins catches the eye alongside last year’s victor Field Of Dream.

CROCKFORD’S DEAD CERT – FREE EAGLE (PRINCE OF WALES’S 4.20)

Dermot Weld’s highly regarded horse looks well placed to take this Group One contest. Third last year in an excellent renewal of the Champion Stakes on ground that didn’t suit, expect an even bolder show now the conditions are in his favour. The trainer is a master planner.

CROCKFORD’S WHISPER – GM HOPKINS E/W (ROYAL HUNT CUP 5.00)

Looked unlucky last time out in what was a hot race. The winner of last season’s Silver Cambridgeshire can make the step up in grade to figure strongly in this.

ARCHER’S SELECTION – RIZEENA E/W (DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE 3.40)

Archer would have noticed her two wins at the Royal meeting and her natural ability. This filly would have been his chosen ride.

LUCKY CHANCER – FIELD OF DREAM E/W (ROYAL HUNT CUP 5.00)

This Lucky Chancer has been aimed at the race by connections after winning it last season. Priced at around 20/1 he has to be worth an each way gamble.

Crockford’s Royal Ascot Gambles on Day Two:

Ivawood (Jersey 2.30), Acapulco and Bruised Orange e/w (3.05), Rizeena (Duke Of Cambridge 3.40), Free Eagle and Spielberg e/w (Prince Of Wales’s 4.20), GM Hopkins e/w and Field Of Dream e/w (Royal Hunt Cup 5.00) and Osaila e/w (Sandringham 5.35)

 

(Featured photograph – Dermot Weld by Stuart Rice)

Hughes To Steal Thunder In Lockinge on Toormore

Richard Hughes looks to steal thunder of his rivals in the Lockinge on board Toormore

The Champion jockey will partner Toormore in the Group One Lockinge at Newbury this afternoon, where he will face his stablemate and 2014 2000 Guineas hero Night Of Thunder. The Hannon pair look to have the prize at their mercy in what is a bumper renewal of the race that has attracted eighteen runners. Last year’s Craven Stakes winner feel short of some expectations last season but looks open to improvement this year. If Toormore takes the Lockinge he will establish himself as a real contender for top miler.

The Hannon colts will have to get the better of the useful Integral who is yet to claim a Group One against male rivals. If at her best she is certain to give the two four-year-olds something to think about.  At longer prices punters would be foolish to overlook Aljamaaheer who deserves to pick up a Group One contest.

Earlier in the afternoon Telescope will hope to win against what look to be lesser adversaries.

Beyond a possible win on Toormore, Hughes looks well placed for a successful afternoon with a handful of good chances with the likes of Elysian Flyer and Gibeon.

CROCKFORD’S DEAD CERT – TELESCOPE (NEWBURY 2.00)

The highly regarded colt should have no problem in adding to his winning tally when he takes on his rivals at Newbury this afternoon. The impressive 2014 Royal Ascot victor is a cut above the rest in this contest.

CROCKFORD’S WHISPER – REX IMPERATOR E/W (THIRSK 4.15)

This Stewards Cup winner is significantly down in grade and at a weight where he can certainly be dangerous. Trained now by the talented David O’Meara expect a bold show from this sprinter with real ability.

ARCHER’S SELECTION – TOORMORE (NEWBURY 3.45)

Archer would have noticed the confidence that the Champion jockey Hughes has shown in his mount. With that confidence surrounding the horse Archer would have wanted the ride.

LUCKY CHANCER – ALJAMAAHEER E/W (NEWBURY 3.45)

Just short of the very best, this Lucky Chancer is certainly worth a gamble in what looks to be an open renewal of the Lockinge. At 20/1 he is certainly an each way proposition.

Crockford’s Gambles on Saturday 16 May:

Newbury – Shalaa (1.25), Telescope (2.00), Elysian Flyer (2.35), Gibeon e/w (3.10), Toormore and Aljamaaheer e/w (Lockinge 3.45), GM Hopkins and Pastoral Player e/w (4.55)

Newmarket – Maid In Rio e/w (2.15), Tupi e/w (2.50) and Kibaar e/w (3.25)

Thirsk – Dawaa (1.55), Rex Imperator e/w (4.15), Barnet Fair e/w (4.50), Cinders And Ashes e/w (5.25) and Captain Dunne e/w (5.55)

Bangor – Monbeg Gold (2.55)

Welsh Champion Hurdle: Sherwood’s Billy To Bounce Back

In-form trainer Oliver Sherwood will hope that Puffin Billy can bounce back to form in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las

Oliver Sherwood will hope that his Puffin Billy can bounce back to form on a return over hurdles in the Welsh Champion Hurdle.  Puffin Billy suffered a heavy fall when running over fences at Ascot, but holds excellent form over the smaller obstacles. Fifth in the Neptune two seasons ago behind five of the very best, he is head and shoulders above in rivals in terms of ability. If he is back at his best he could add another big Saturday prize for his trainer.

In Puffin Billy’s way is the highly regarded Silsol for the Nicholls yard and the classy mare Hidden Identity. Silsol has done little wrong for connections but may just be anchored by his weight in these testing conditions. Hidden Identity on a going day is thrown in at the weights and was not far away at the Festival last March. In what is a competitive renewal Sherwood’s horse gets the nod to bounce back.

At Sandown expect Bristol De Mai and Champagne West to confirm their Cheltenham credentials, with Return Spring to return to form in the Towton at Wetherby.

CROCKFORD’S DEAD CERT – HUGHESIE (FFOS LAS 3.45)

Chased some talented horses home in his starts, now up in trip and against lesser company the signs are of another good performance. Expect this Evan Williams horse to win.

CROCKFORD’S WHISPER – HADRIAN’S APPROACH E/W (SANDOWN 3.35)

Very highly regarded as a novice and a battling winner of the former Whitbred at Sandown. In this he may be carrying a top weight but he has the class to be a contender.

ARCHER’S SELECTION – BRISTOL DE MAI (SANDOWN 1.15)

Archer would have not missed the style in which this grey took the Grade One Finale at Chepstow on his first UK outing. With that form in the book and festival hopes on the horizon he would have been booked.

LUCKY CHANCER – HIDDEN IDENTITY E/W (FFOS LAS 2.05)

Quoted at around 25/1 for Welsh Champion Hurdle success this lucky chancer has plenty of good back-form in the book. If the mare is on a going day she will go close. Fourth last year at the Festival in the Mares Hurdle.

Crockford’s Gambles on Welsh Champion Hurdle Day:

Ffos Las – Village Vic (1.30), Puffin Billy e/w, Silsol e/w and Hidden Identity e/w (Welsh Champion Hurdle 2.05), Global Power and Firebird Flyer e/w (2.40), Albert Bridge e/w (3.10) and Hughesie (3.45)

Sandown – Pain Au Chocolate (12.40), Bristol De Mai (1.15), French Opera (1.50), Champagne West (2.25), El Dancer e/w (3.00) and Hadrian’s Approach e/w (3.35)

Lingfield – Gabrial’s Wawa (2.20)

Wetherby – Pepite Rose (2.10), Ely Brown e/w (2.45), Return Spring (3.20) and Junior (3.55)

(Featured photograph – Ffos Las by Stuart Rice)

Cheltenham Trials Day: Reputations To Be Tested

With the 2015 Cheltenham Festival fast approaching reputations will be tested on Cheltenham Trials Day

An array of Festival hopefuls will have their reputations tested on Festival Trials Day, with the first being the leading Triumph Hurdle hope Peace And Co when he races in the first on todays Cheltenham card.

Peace And Co hosed up at Doncaster in a graded contest on his first outing in the UK and comes here as the clear 5/2 favourite for the Triumph. Alan King’s Karezak will provide a good benchmark for the Henderson horse given his second behind Simon Munir’s other festival fancy Bristol De Mai at Chepstow. The odds on favourite will have to win this convincingly to remain so ahead of the others in the Festival markets.

The highly regarded Stellar Notion will seek to win the Novice Chase (1.15) before a possible attempt at the Arkle or JLT in March. If he is impressive his price is certain to shorten for Festival success.

The six runner Betbright Chase (1.50) is packed full of quality, with Pipe’s Dynaste looking to pick up where he left off in the Ryanair on his return to the track. With consistent performances since then he is likely to strengthen his reputation for March. Many Clouds is an even more interesting prospects and could really throw his hat into the ring for the Gold Cup if he can add this to his Hennessy victory.

With prices available for the Neptune and Albert Bartlett connections will hope that Value At Risk will not put his reputation at risk in the Neptune Trial at (3.00). If he wins his claims for further glory will be touted.

In an interesting renewal of the Cleeve Hurdle (3.35) chasers return hurdling and challengers try an extended distance in the hope that the World Hurdle might be in their grasp come spring. Cole Harden and Saphir Du Rheu will have to deliver here to be real contenders at the Festival.

At Doncaster a strong renewal of the old Great Yorkshire Chase (now SkyBet Chase) looks set to be fought out between the King stablemates Godsmejudge and Medermit, with the danger being the in-form Fairy Rath.

CROCKFORD’S DEAD CERT – DYNASTE (CHELTENHAM 1.50)

2014 Ryanair winner has done nothing wrong since, finishing second in the King George latest. The Pipe grey looks certain to continue in that good vein of form and will claim this valuable prize.

CROCKFORD’S WHISPER – HORATIO HORNBLOWER E/W (CHELTENHAM 1.15)

On a featherweight in this novice handicap, Lizzie Kelly is a definite bonus for this Nick Williams Whisper. Good winner on Boxing Day and likely to build on that.

ARCHER’S SELECTION – ANALIFET (DONCASTER 2.05)

Archer would have respected the choice of fellow jockey Ruby Walsh to come across the waters to ride this highly regarded mare. This main chance would have been his selection.

LUCKY CHANCER – OLOFI E/W (CHELTENHAM 3.35)

Having posted two respectable runs this season, this horse is certainly worth a Lucky Chancer in what looks an open renewal of the Cleeve Hurdle where many reputations at this extended distance still need to be proved.

Crockford’s Gambles on Cheltenham Trials Day (Saturday 24 January):

Cheltenham – Peace And Co (12.40), Horatio Hornblower e/w (1.15), Dynaste (1.50),  Walkon (2.25), Value At Risk (3.00), Olofi e/w (3.35) and Dell’Arca (4.10)

Doncaster – Witch From Rome e/w (12.25), Runswick Royal (1.30), Analifet (2.05),  Blaklion (2.40), Medermit e/w and Godsmejudge e/w (3.15)

Lingfield – Pirate Cove (12.50), Indus Way e/w (1.25) and Wajeeh (2.00)

Uttoxeter – Winston Churchill (3.25)

 

(Featured photograph – 2014 Ryanair winner Dynaste and Tom Scudamore by Stuart Rice)

Sprinter Sacre To Shoot Down Rivals in Clarence House

Sprinter Sacre to shoot down his rivals in the Grade One Clarence House Chase when he returns to racing at Ascot this afternoon

At his best the mighty Sprinter Sacre is at least twenty pounds better than any of his rivals that he will face this afternoon in the Grade One Clarence House Chase. His eagerly awaited return to the course appeared in balance earlier this week with potential concerns about the possible testing conditions. Having posted a good piece of work at Newbury a couple of weeks ago, connections can be confident that he is certainly on the road back to his best.

His main rival will be the Tingle Creek winner Dodging Bullets from Paul Nicholls yard. The Nicholls chaser has never won in the second half of the season and does not look the grade of other Tingle Creek winners. Somersby loves Ascot and could well get closer to Sprinter Sacre. Priced at around Evens for today’s contest the Henderson horse looks value as will his current prices for the Champion Chase after the race.

The New One is certain of continued smooth progress to Cheltenham in March when he runs at Haydock in the Trial (2.05) and the useful former novice Corrin Wood looks set to take the Peter Marsh Chase (3.15).

CROCKFORD’S DEAD CERT – CORRIN WOOD (HAYDOCK 3.15)

Third in the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby and in a listed chase at Sandown, an excellent novice last season he is certain to benefit from his respectable weight and the conditions. This is not the deepest renewal and he is the potential class act within the field.

CROCKFORD’S WHISPER – MIRACLE OF MEDINAH E/W (LINGFIELD 2.35)

This Group Three and Listed stakes winner, takes a big drop in class to compete in this handicap and is an eye-catching entry. He has won at the course and importantly on the surface. Priced at around 14/1 there is a big whisper for this talented performer.

ARCHER’S SELECTION – SPRINTER SACRE (ASCOT 3.00)

The shrewd Archer would certainly have been on board for the long awaited return of the mighty chaser. He would have not been concerned about the rivals after watching Sprinter Sacre posting a good exercise at Newbury.

LUCKY CHANCER – LE FIN BOIS E/W (TAUNTON 2.50)

This Lucky Chancer will be double figure odds and worth a second look. Always highly tested and well regarded. This race is a much lower grade than some of his previous engagements.

Crockford’s Gambles on Saturday 17 January:

Ascot – Top Notch (12.40), Village Vic (1.15), Mischievous Milly e/w (1.50), Garde La Victoire (2.25), Sprinter Sacre (3.00) and Niceonefrankie (3.35)

Haydock – Barafundle (12.30), Close Touch (12.55), Qewy (1.30), The New One (2.05), Third Intention (2.40) and Corrin Wood (3.15)

Taunton – Padge (1.05), Le Fin Bois e/w (2.50) and Fayette County (3.25)

Lingfield – High Office (12.50), Taajub e/w (2.00) and Miracle Of Medinah e/w (2.35)

 

(Featured Photograph – Sprinter Sacre at Cheltenham by Stuart Rice)

Return Spring To Prove Classic Winner For Hobbs

Trainer Phillip Hobbs’ Return Spring to prove a winner in the Warwick Classic Chase this afternoon

Return Spring has put in a number of eye-catching efforts over the larger obstacles this season and looks well placed to take Warwick’s biggest race of the year – The Warwick Classic Chase. The mud-loving Hobbs horse will have no problems with the conditions having won over hurdles in heavy ground at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day 2014. Many of his rivals in the race look exposed and some come here after poor efforts in the Welsh Grand National. Alan King’s West End Rocker and Keighley’s Benbane Head are the dangers.

The Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton (2.40) looks within the grasp of the useful Dell’Arca who is a cut above the field. The winner of last season’s Greatwood has the ability to carry his weight to beat lesser competition.

CROCKFORD’S DEAD CERT – RETURN SPRING (WARWICK 3.35)

The former good handicap hurdler has shown some excellent form over to the larger obstacles, finishing third behind the Cheltenham Festival fancy King’s Palace last time. His form was franked yesterday by Highland Retreat, who he beat at Exeter,  when she won a listed contest yesterday at Doncaster. Expect a bold show.

CROCKFORD’S WHISPER – DELL’ARCA E/W (KEMPTON 2.40)

Excellent performer last year in handicap company, winning the Greatwood and finishing second in Betfair at Newbury. The Pipe horse is a cut above his rivals, expect a big run and double figure odds.

ARCHER’S SELECTION – FIRST MOHICAN (KEMPTON 3.45)

Archer would have known the potential over hurdles that this classy flat performer has. In handicap company the great jockey would have been desperate to take the ride.

LUCKY CHANCER – RON’S DREAM E/W (WARWICK 3.00)

Priced at 33/1 for victory, this Bowen horse is worth a lucky chancer. Ran well for a long way last time out in a listed mares contest and has won earlier in the season at Ffos Las beating the useful The Govaness. Better than her price.

Crockford’s Gambles on Saturday 10 January:

Warwick – Greywell Boy (1.20), It’s A Steel (1.55) and Handazan e/w (2.25)

Kempton – Cocktails at Dawn (1.00)

Wetherby – Bells ‘N’ Banjos (12.35), Horizontal Speed (1.10) and Attwaal (2.50)

Lingfield – Lujeanie e/w (1.30), Gold Trail e/w (2.05) and Dastarhon (2.35)

Punchestown – Apache Jack (12.40), Rogue Angel (1.50), Douvan (2.20), Truthwillsetufree (2.55) and Michael Flips e/w (4.00)

(Featured photograph – Phillip Hobbs by Stuart Rice)

Unioniste Set For Victory At Sandown

Trainer Paul Nicholls Unioniste looks set for victory at Sandown after promising return in the Hennessy

Nicholls’ grey Unioniste looks set for a win in the valuable £30,000 handicap chase after a promising seasonal return in the Hennessy where he finished a credible sixth.  With strong previous form in the book including Cheltenham, Newbury and Aintree victories, he is the one to beat. The main danger to him would be a rejuvenated Triolo D’Alene, but the classy Henderson chaser is likely to be anchored by top weight.

In the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle earlier on the card a disappointing small field of four will contest the race. The Ex-French Henderson recruit L’Ami Serge should continue the trainers excellent record.

In the mares hurdle at (12.40) the classy Aurore D’Estruval looks nailed on to beat her rivals, following an excellent second in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle. Crockford expects her price for the Mares Hurdle at the Festival to shorten after the race. She is currently 6/1 with Ladbrokes for a win in March.

CROCKFORD’S DEAD CERT – UNIONISTE (SANDOWN 3.35)

Sixth last time out in the Hennessy, the Nicholls grey will be just right now for a big run in this valuable Sandown handicap chase. The trainer is confident of a bold show and with the field looking thin expect a victory.

CROCKFORD’S WHISPER – BLUE BUTTONS E/W (WINCANTON 2.40)

Talented mare who was fourth last time out at Sandown and can come on from that run. Her class makes her look at good prospect of at least a place in this company.

ARCHER’S SELECTION – AURORE D’ESTRUVAL (SANDOWN 12.40)

Archer would have noted that her form is heads and shoulders above the rest, and for this reason would have be on the Festival Mares Hurdle fancy.

LUCKY CHANCER – SMOOTHTALKINRASCAL E/W (LINGFIELD 2.35)

With odds of around 25/1, it is worth an each way punt on this former big handicap performer. It would not take much for him to win at this grade.

Crockford’s Gambles on Saturday 3 January:

Sandown – Arabian Revolution (12.10), Aurore D’Estruval (12.40),  Fairy Rath (1.15), Williams’ Wishes (1.50), L’ami Serge (2.25),  Amore Alato and Balgarry e/w (3.00), and Unioniste (3.35)

Lingfield – Castilo Del Diablo (2.00), Smoothtalkinrascal e/w (2.35) and Al’s Memory e/w (3.10)

Wincanton – Blue Buttons e/w (2.40) and Black River (3.15)

Newcastle – Calculated Risk (12.30)

Cork – Show Court (1.45)

 

(Featured Photograph – Unioniste and Samedifference jump the last at Newbury by Stuart Rice)