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  1. #221
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    Quote Originally Posted by reet hard View Post
    Doesn't matter whether handicaps or pattern races, it provides a plethora of quality form going forward, much of it useful till the end of the season, and beyond.
    Ascot this year reminded me of every day being a Thursday at Cheltenham if you lost the first two days. Low on confidence and trying to solve wicked races.

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    Tout Seul (20th June 2021)

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  4. #222
    Senior Member Tout Seul's Avatar
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    I normally have a sizeable AP book going into Ascot every year. Alcohol Free was my only AP bet this year and that was to a far smaller stake than I would normally have at the meeting on my main fancy.
    Questions as to which race she would be in and whether she could turn around from a not impressive run in the Guineas against against a decent field curtailed my enthusiasm. I missed the race live as was travelling to Oxford on the motorway in an horrendous storm which prevented any signal getting through.
    In the race she put a pretty good performance showing both speed and stamina with Murphy seemingly quite confident. She is to be considered for the July Cup and the Sussex Stakes and i have no clue where her best chance would be.

    Overall I feel Slim's comment above is an apt description. One horse I would take from the meeting is Berkshire Shadow.

    POSTED IN APRIL.
    I have kept an eye open for Jeff Smith's horses since the early 80"s when whilst putting together a financing package that helped his business win a significant export order I was recommended to follow his then untried 2yo, Chief Singer. The horse became the first flat horse that I followed throughout his career, travelling to see the beautiful beast run whenever possible. The same with the admirable Persian Punch.
    Last September I put up his Foxtrot Lady as one to back when he put Dettori on the horse which duly won at 18/1.
    Using part of the proceeds I added AlcoholFree for the 1000 gns to my core Cheltenham AP multiples at 33/1. Unfortunately with NR's and Abacadabra's fall I have only one small stake double left with Minella Indo.
    At the same time I began backing AlcoholFree singly and have numerous small stakes bets at prices ranging from 44's to 10/1, several as the remainder of failed multiples.

    Realistically I am guessing as to whether she has developed over the winter and it will depend on her performance on Sunday in the Dubai Duty Free ( awful name for a race). Hoping not expecting though Balding's recent comments provide some encouragement.




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  6. #223
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    I felt Alcohol Free was disappointing in the Guineas but was not downhearted. My feeling was she (and Saffron Beach for that matter) were always doing catch-up as what pace there was was on the far side. If Santa Barbara had been on the stands side it might have been a different race. I'd hope Alcohol Free will take in the Falmouth before taking in the mile race at Ascot.

    The enlargement of Ascot has not been a success to my eyes. Please go back to 6 races a day (I'd prefer 4 days and 7 really, but that's unlikely) and let's get rid of the Commonwealth Stakes. One used to know who was likely to be the best sprinter by the end of Ascot, not any more.

    Ascot is becoming like Cheltenham where the horses have choices so that they can dodge each other. Both meetings used to be championships, now they are often the crowning of mediocrity.

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    Desperate Dan (21st June 2021)

  8. #224
    Senior Member Desert Orchid's Avatar
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    I dismissed Alcohol Free from my considerations on the basis of the trainer claiming before the Guineas that he didn't think she would get the trip (but had to try). I did wonder when they persevered with her at what would be a stiffer test but stuck with my original decision to dismiss her chances.

    She was a good winner of a modest race and congrats to all her backers. As I've said elsewhere I really like Balding as a trainer and will never begrudge him a good win.
    Two's company, three's allowed.

  9. #225
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    Commonwealth Stakes an important race for three year old sprinters, whether it has to be Group 1 is another matter.
    Enlargement of Festivals :
    We live in an overkill society where nothing exceeds like excess.( Baffert/ Cheltenham / Godolphin/Ballydoyle/McManus/Gigginstown/WPM/Elliot etc)
    I do wish we come to our senses before racing becomes extinct by "necessity".

  10. #226
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Orchid View Post
    I dismissed Alcohol Free from my considerations on the basis of the trainer claiming before the Guineas that he didn't think she would get the trip (but had to try). I did wonder when they persevered with her at what would be a stiffer test but stuck with my original decision to dismiss her chances.

    She was a good winner of a modest race and congrats to all her backers. As I've said elsewhere I really like Balding as a trainer and will never begrudge him a good win.
    She did beat two Guineas winners, maybe they're all modest too.

  11. #227
    Senior Member Desert Orchid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eleanora Duse View Post
    She did beat two Guineas winners, maybe they're all modest too.
    Yes. I believe I said it at the time. And I was on Mother Earth at Newmarket.
    Two's company, three's allowed.

  12. #228
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    I share your admiration for A Balding. He's a much better trainer than his father, who was fairly good but whom I will forever admire for his selflessness over the Hern affair in 1998/9.

  13. #229
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    Julian Muscat, Racing Post

    It goes down as the year when Royal Ascot followed other sporting institutions of similar status in putting quid before quality. Like the expanded Euro 2020, which finally reaches the last-16 stage this weekend more than two weeks after it started, Royal Ascot has become a meeting of two halves.

    The first half of each day resembles the Royal Ascot of old, when superior horses lock horns in a series of thrilling tussles. The second half can be charitably described as unfit for purpose. To borrow a revolting phrase so beloved of the toffs, it is mutton dressed as lamb.

    When an extra day was added in 2002 to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee, it was strictly a one-off, Ascot assured us. Now extra races added last year under the cover of Covid have become fully incorporated. All of it gift-wrapped in a cloak of stealth.

    Never mind the quality, let's ensure those insatiable Hong Kong punters have an extra race each day on bet on. Let's hear those tills ringing with Ascot's slice of the action. And how dare anyone take issue with the concept of a world pool that brings money into the coffers of poor old beleaguered British racing.

    In the course of two decades 24 races have become 35 and with no dilution in quality, we are told. Stop and think about that for a minute. How can it possibly be? Are there really 45 per cent more quality horses today than there were 20 years ago?

    But that's not how Ascot paints it. In its eyes the new handicaps are mirror images of existing handicaps but over different distances; ergo, there is no dilution in quality since they cater for different horses.

    There may not be dilution in quality to the existing handicaps but there is a significant dilution to the quality of horses at the meeting as a whole. That is what really matters.

    The inevitable consequence is that the last three races on each day are barely worth the time of day. No fewer than 12 of the 15 are handicaps, and virtually unfathomable ones at that. The five new handicaps threw up winners at odds of 13-2, 10-1, 12-1, 18-1 and 33-1. Is it any wonder the bookies warmly welcomed their introduction? Throw in the pronounced draw bias down the straight mile and bingo! Royal Ascot is Euro Millions in disguise.

    To be fair, Royal Ascot has resisted mind-numbing expansion longer than most. The Olympics will soon be upon us and the games will bring joy, because they always do. But how many of you will be watching some of the more recent sporting additions, among them Artistic Swimming, BMX Freestyle, Skateboarding, Surfing and Sport Climbing? I'll bet you can hardly wait.

    The stark reality of Royal Ascot's day of two halves has become more pronounced since ITV started broadcasting every race live at a time when most of us have been unable to attend for the last two years. The effect of watching the daily broadcast is to wonder whether this is a case of having too much of a good thing.

    The old adage holds that events are successful when they leave the audience wanting more on their conclusion. That's not how I personally felt at the close of each day. Those last three races dragged on; only hardened punters will have relished trying to decipher them.

    There is much to be said for the US Masters' policy of restricting live broadcasting, in the process retaining intrigue. It can be frustrating for golf aficionados but that's precisely the point. It leaves you wanting more.

    Intrigue and exclusivity are valuable commodities, especially in these oversaturated times. Some of the intrigue is dissolving, while oversaturation is stripping away layers of Royal Ascot's exclusivity. For trainers and jockeys, a first winner at the meeting was a greater milestone than it is today.

    I get the upsides: spreading out the jam, greater inclusivity and all that. But winning at Royal Ascot isn't meant to be easy. No fewer than nine jockeys rode their first winners last week. The idea that it was a huge dream realised became too repetitive to make much impact with television viewers.

    One further question thrown up by the day-of-two-halves theme is whether racing fans accustomed to the old quality diet are prepared to pay to watch four races before their interest tapers away. There is a potentially beneficial spin-off: those travelling by train and car may find the journey home less congested as people depart at various stages of the afternoon. But are you prepared to pay to watch just four races?

    The answer has to be in the affirmative. The best horses are still there. At no other meeting in Britain will you find the likes of Battaash, Love, Palace Pier, Poetic Flare, Stradivarius, Subjectivist and Wonderful Tonight all gathered in one place. But you'd pay the entry with a slightly heavy heart.

    Consider this as a lament, rather than a criticism. Five days and 35 races are here to stay, as are the financial benefits to Ascot racecourse in difficult times. But let's not hear all that guff about quality being unaffected. Royal Ascot of yore is gone, gone, gone. It will soon be forgotten.
    Last edited by wilsonl; 22nd June 2021 at 7:07 AM.
    Alcohol, because no good story ever started with "I was eating this salad..."

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  15. #230
    Senior Member Desert Orchid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Orchid View Post
    I'm still marvelling at the Sandringham winner too. That was one of the most impressive winners of a major meeting handicap you'll ever see. They were strung out like 3-mile chasers and the near side finished 25 lengths ahead of the far side, far more than in any other straight-course handicap. A G2 performance at worst and who knows where her progression might take her.
    Create Belief up 13lbs.

    Runner-up Samoot only up 3lbs. Cert next time if kept to handicaps.
    Two's company, three's allowed.

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  17. #231
    Senior Member Desert Orchid's Avatar
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    Rohaan has only been raised 4lbs for winning the Wokingham. I haven't seen a blog that might explain the handicapper's thinking but it strikes me as very lenient indeed, especially given the implication that the placed horses will have been raised less or not at all.

    I imagine the reasoning will be along the lines of the implications of going higher and how it might make Rohaan look compared with the principals in the Commonwealth Cup. That might be flawed thinking.

    I had placed horses Gulliver and Hey Jonesy very well handicapped on the pick of their form and they were off for their lives. King's Lynn was already officially 7lbs well in. Fresh was a +p horse and one I really feared but couldn't get involved with at close to favouritism. He has out-run my expectations of him.

    What I will say with some confidence is that Rohaan will eat alive any of the principals in the Commonwealth Cup off level weights, certainly in similar ground, and would give the top older 6f horses something serious to think about.
    Two's company, three's allowed.

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  19. #232
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    The handicapper has copped out knowing it won't run in a handicap again as you alluded to with not wanting to rate higher than the Commonwealth.

  20. #233
    Senior Member Euronymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slim View Post
    not wanting to rate higher than the Commonwealth.
    Or the Diamond Jubilee. The market for the July Cup is crazy wrong. They have the older horses - DOD, Oxted and Starman as 5s co's with the 3yos at 7s+

    The younger generation are much better imo. It's just narrowing down which one(s) to back.

  21. #234
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    Quote Originally Posted by Euronymous View Post
    Or the Diamond Jubilee. The market for the July Cup is crazy wrong. They have the older horses - DOD, Oxted and Starman as 5s co's with the 3yos at 7s+

    The younger generation are much better imo. It's just narrowing down which one(s) to back.
    Could well be an angle there.

  22. #235
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankel View Post
    Go Bears Go
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    This perfect mix of poetry and destruction.

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