What a weekend of winners for subscribers to my VG Tips service!
I was celebrating picking the winners of both the English and Irish St Leger, along with the Irish Champion Stakes and other impressive winners in England and Ireland on Saturday and Sunday.
Tipping the winner of the St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday was perhaps not such a tough call. But getting the early price of 11/10 made backing the favourite LOGICIAN worthwhile. Especially when he won in such easy fashion under a clever ride by Frankie Dettori. It was the weakest field for an English St Leger I can recall and the beautiful looking grey was a class apart.
On Sunday, however, tipping SEARCH FOR A SONG when priced at 12/1 was inspired and the icing on the cake of a tasty weekend of betting for members of VG Tips.
I laid out the reasoning to members as follows: “This race is a step up in class for the Dermot Weld trained filly, a daughter of Galileo, but her fourth place finish in the Irish Oaks saw her finish well in front of Iridessa, which won the Group 1 Matron Stakes on Saturday.”
Jockey Chris Hayes decided that trying to persuade the keen filly to take it easy was pointless. She wanted to go, so Hayes let her have her head seven furlongs from home and she won the race going away. The front two in the betting market, Kew Gardens and Cross Counter were playing catch up. They couldn’t. Search For a Song won the Group 1 Irish St Leger by two and a quarter lengths.
After the race trainer Dermot Weld said: “This has been a very special race for me over the years and it’s the eighth time I’ve won it. She was running very free early on and he had a hard call to make. I was happy he made the right call because I didn’t want to see him (Chris Hayes) spend the rest of the race trying to settle her.
“Potentially she is a really high-class stayer. That was as good a St Leger as I’ve won when you look at the ratings of the horses in the race. The world is her oyster next year, and there is huge improvement potentially in this filly. She loves fast ground. Hopefully she will make into a lovely four-year-old.”
On Saturday at Leopardstown, MAGICAL won the Irish Champion Stakes for trainer Aidan O’Brien. A 15/8 tip to members the day before racing, Magical won the race by two and a quarter lengths. For each way backers, I also alerted those members to the fact that stablemate Anthony Van Dyck was overpriced in the betting market at odds of 12/1. Anthony Van Dyck finished third, so returning placed profit. O’Brien trained the first three home in the Irish Champion Stakes.
There was further placed profit on Saturday. Embour was my each way NAP in the first race at Doncaster. 22 horses went to post so some bookies were paying out each way bets about the first six or seven past the post. Odds of 18/1 and 16/1 were on offer. Beaten only a length and a half, Embour finished sixth, so ensuring decent profit from a very competitive handicap.
Never No More was an 8/1 each way tip for the Group 2 Park Stakes at Doncaster. Another trained by Aidan O’Brien, the colt finished second. A little profit and your stake back. It’s such bets as those on Embour and Never No More which also lead to us making an annual profit betting on racing. It’s not all about backing winners. It’s also about giving as little of your stake money to the bookie as possible.
While Search For A Song provided a brilliant end to profitable punting on Sunday at the Curragh, the day had already begun well for subscribers to my popular selection service. BUFFER ZONE was my NAP for the opening race, a sprint handicap over six furlongs.
I thought this was a Group class racehorse running in a handicap. Part of my detailed analysis for this race told members: “Last month Buffer Zone finished a three and half length fifth in a higher class of race, a Group 3 over course and distance.” I also pointed how to members how much better off at the weights Buffer Zone was compared to an opponent, Verhoyen, that had previously beaten Buffer Zone.
The star on Sunday was my personal favourite horse of this rather good flat season. PINATUBO.
It was in June that I told members I had placed my longest term ante-post bet for many a year. Having tipped Pinatubo to win the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot, at odds of 7/2; I took a double figure price on offer for the two year old colt to win the 2000 Guineas in May of 2020. An ambitious ante-post bet for a race eleven months in the future, a race Pinatubo is not yet officially entered in. The next race entry is for the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket on October 12th.
While I had been a fan since June, I was pleasantly surprised by the reaction to Sunday’s win in the Group 1 Vincent O’Brien National Stakes. Reaction from many a race watcher who has been around at least as long as me, some for even longer.
Jim McGrath has seen most of the greats in action. He tweeted: “Spectacular performance from Pinatubo, right up there with other great juvenile displays from yesteryear, Xaar, Dream Ahead, Frankel, Zafonic and Arazi to name but five!”
Jason Brautigam said: ” I honestly think that this is the best two year old we’ve seen since Arazi. Better than Frankel or Dubai Millennium at this stage. I know that’s a bold claim but the way he quickened clear was more like the pier arcade horse racing game than real life. Awesome acceleration.”
Paul Kealy of the Racing Post, a man I have plenty of time for, said people comparing Pinatubo to Frankel “is perfectly valid.”
I didn’t back Pinatubo on Saturday myself because odds of 4/9 and 1/3 are not my sort of thing. Some members will have been happy to back him odds on. That’s fine. It’s their money. They must do with their money as they wish. For others, I told each way backers that I couldn’t imagine Arizona finishing out of the first three at odds of 8/1 that were available the night before racing. Arizona finished third.
Trainer Charlie Appleby says Pinatubo doesn’t do much at home or when on the gallops at Newmarket but acknowledges that “he’s the best two year old I’ve ever trained.” He clearly saves his best for the racetrack. Which is fine by me.
Jockey William Buick could not contain his smile as Pinatubo crossed the winning line, nine lengths ahead of the runner up. The jockey confirmed he has never ridden a two year old like him. He said: “It was a hugely, hugely exciting performance and it felt as good as it looked. Today he was mightily impressive. He just keeps lengthening and quickening.”