It’s always nice to begin a racing day with a 20/1 winner. Especially when the past the post price on the day is only half that.
I am glad my vibes were good about Good Vibes (pictured above).
Here’s what I told members about why I fancied that one at an each way price at York on Friday:- “I take a chance on last time out Class 3 Salisbury winner, Good Vibes. The two year old filly is still a baby but she had two good runs in April. First when she finished second in a Class 4 maiden despite having been slow away first time on a racecourse (third horse has since won a race by five lengths).
“A little later in April, Good Vibes understood better what racing was all about and beat a previous winner called Exclusively on Good to Firm ground over this distance. Jockey Harry Bentley and trainer David Evans have a 29% strike rate when combining this past year and the young Bentley has a 14% strike rate at York the past twelve months.”
Later in the day, Stradivarius justified my confidence and won the Yorkshire Cup for the second year running.
Here’s what I told members about this one:-“Stradivarius has served myself and members of VG Tips well. I have heard some race watchers say they can’t get excited by Stradivarius. He’ll do for me. Until such time as it is proved that his best days are behind him, I’ll not be opposing him. I think he’s a beauty.
“It’s argued by some that the John Gosden trained, Frankie Dettori ridden horse only ever does just enough. That he does not win in spectacular fashion. Providing he wins, I’m not that worried. He won all five races last season including this very race by three lengths. Now he has not raced for 243 days but then he had not raced for 203 days prior to landing this race in striking fashion twelve months ago. It’s always possible that a horse peaks at four years of age and that the now five year old may not be the force of old. But I wouldn’t be putting money on that.”
I’m not one for betting odds on. Especially those horses priced very, very short in the betting market. What I tend to say to members is that I only do that when I believe the price about the horse should be even shorter than it is.
That was the case with Crystal Ocean on Saturday. On Friday you could readily get odds of 8/15 and 1/2 about Crystal Ocean.
Here is what I wrote the members the day before racing:- “Crystal Ocean has been the model of consistency for trainer Sir Michael Stoute. Never out of the first three in all thirteen outings, the now 5 year old horse has won six of those races, including this very one twelve months ago. He won by six lengths that day. The opposition is better this year.
“They include Laraaib. Last October Laraaib won a Group 3 race. The runner up, Communique, has since won a good Group 2 race and the third horse, First Eleven, won a Class 2 handicap for us earlier this week. Laraaib has raced once this season, over this course and distance, and finished third in a Group 3 race, ahead of subsequent the Group 2 runner up, Defoe.
“Raymond Tusk could give those two a run for their money.”
The first three home in the Group 3 Al Rayyan Stakes were indeed, as mentioned, Crystal Ocean, Laraaib and Raymond Tusk and the winner came past the post at the much shorter SP price of 2/9. Once again, the early bird punter got the best odds. That’s why I send members my detailed analysis and betting tips the day before racing.
Crystal Ocean is trained by Sir Michael Stoute. His stable had a good day at Newbury on Saturday. His Queen Power won a Class 1 Listed race later on the card but it was his Mustashry that grabbed the headlines when winning the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes by two and a half lengths, beating the filly Laurens into second. My 22/1 each way tip, Romanised, returned double your money placed profit when finishing fourth, hence why I told members to use the online bookies returning each way bets about the first four horses past the post.
Earlier in the week, at a sun kissed Knavesmire in York, First Eleven was a 6/1 winning tip to members. Jockey Frankie Dettori rides this racecourse so well and this win aboard the John Gosden trained colt would not be the only time we would see Frankie in the winners’ enclosure last week.
Here’s part of my detailed write up sent to members the night before racing: “The consistently placed son of Frankel called First Eleven is never going to be in the same league as his illustrious father, and he perhaps does not win as often as he should, but once again, here is a horse that rarely finishes out of the places and is dropping back down out of Group company.”
Like me, lots of my subscribers prefer each way bets at bigger prices rather than a short priced favourite. I selected Major Jumbo for them when priced at 14/1 for the Group 2 Duke of York Clipper Logistic Stakes on Wednesday. My each way bets are often on horses that have a good chance of winning but which are, more importantly, reliable when it comed to being placed in races. After all, there’s more than one way to extract cash from a bookie’s satchel.
Here’s what I advised members:- “Second, two lengths behind Invincible Army that day at the end of March, Major Jumbo appeals here. Major Jumbo races well at York. Third ten days ago in a Group 3 race over five furlongs at Newmarket, the Kevin Ryan trained grey gelding was doing his best work at the finish of that race so six furlongs should suit.”
Major Jumbo had to make do with the runner up spot, once again beaten by Invincible Army. But I was happy with my returns. Life as a punter gets boring if all you ever do is back the favourite.
The race finish that really caught my eye on Wednesday at York came in the Group 3 for fillies, the Musidora Stakes (above). The race was won by the Roger Varian trained Nausha at odds of 14/1. But it was the two that dead heated for second that stood out for me.
Entitle, a half sister to Enable, was to be ridden by Frankie Dettori for trainer John Gosden. She was my 8/1 each way tip the night before racing. I had to make a choice between her and another filly, one that had raced just the once before last week, a daughter of the mighty Frankel called Frankellina.
Here is part of my preview sent to members of VG Tips, a service any of you can join via this link
“This looks a hot race. Not much form to go on but plenty of promise and some very well bred types take each other on.
“A half sister to Enable, the lightly raced Entitle returns to racing after an absence of 183 days. Trained by John Gosden and ridden by Franki Dettori on Wednesday, the filly won a modest Class 5 Novice Stakes by one length on the all weather at Lingfield last December. It’s currently impossible to know what Gosden has on his hands here. She could be something special.
“As may the daughter of Frankel called Frankellina. She didn’t set the racing world alight when winning a Class 4 Novice Stakes by a head last October and she hasn’t race since. But then we have to remember who her daddy is and improvement is more than likely as the season goes on.”
Now Frankellina did get worked up before the race, was slow out of the stalls and later in the race, when seeking to make a move on the leaders, got bumped to one side. Despite all that she made up ground quickly to tie for second with my Entitle.
Both Frankellina and Entitle impressed me. They are now 16/1 and 25/1 respectively for the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom on May 31st.
Were there losers? Of course. You can’t win them all. No punter does. Were there horses that disappointed me? Yes. I think Sea of Faith is now likely to be pulled out of the Oaks by trainer William Haggas after a very disappointing performance in a Listed race on Saturday.
On the same day that the Gosden trained Lah Ti Dar won for us at York, stablemate Too Darn Hot was beaten into second by Telecaster in the Group 2 Dante Stakes. I was surprised at the speed with which Gosden announced the decision to switch Too Darn Hot from the Derby on June 1st, to the St. James’s Palaces Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 18th. I didn’t think it was a bad run by Too Darn Hot, beaten only a length. But Dettori told his trainer that the colt, unbeaten in all four previous races, did not have the stamina for the 1 mile 2 furlongs on the day so was not likely to last the further distance in the Derby. Instead, Gosden confirmed, the drop back to a mile at Ascot will be the next racing appointment for the horse owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
I do love racing at York. It has long remained my favourite flat racing track. But there are plenty of other top class fixtures coming along thick and fast. I concentrate on the better quality racing in the UK and Ireland. I ignore the low grade dross that exists for bookies to take money from impatient punters.
Over in Ireland, in the final week of May, we can look forward to the Irish 1000 and 2000 Guineas at the Curragh. As mentioned, the Oaks – one of my all time favourite races – is at Epsom on May 31st and is followed the next day by the Derby. I shall be offering members ante-post analysis and betting tips in advance of that Epsom meeting. The racing highlight in July has to be the five days at Royal Ascot.