North On The Level – 2019

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  • #1441691
    robnorthrobnorth
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    I’ve been caught up with commitments to other activities lately so not able to do as much horse racing stuff as I would like. The local Rotary Club has taken up a fair bit of time, but does give me a excuse to run a race night which was very popular and also taken parties to Perth and Hamilton in recent times.

    I thought I would try to put up a few horses that I spot this season on the northern flat circuit.

    My flat season started with a visit to Hamilton where I picked up a couple of interesting horses both of which have run since.

    RARE GROOVE came clear in good style in the 1m 5f Class 3 Buttonhook Handicap. He subsequently ran midfield in a hot looking Class 2 event over 1m 4f at York which doesn’t look bad form as he was held up and unable to get in a blow. He’s currently on a mark of 94 which should be workable for a Class 3 event of the weaker Class 2 handicaps. Well held when running over 1m 6f, but I see no reason why he shouldn’t be suited by the slightly stiffer test.

    Second in the above race was CHARLES KINGSLEY who has yet to win a race, but might be a typical Mark Jophnston horse that toughs it out and wins races by having more determination than his rivals. Currently on a mark of 87 and there should be a handicap or two to be won in the coming months on the northern circuit.

    Six-year-old sprinters are not normally my cup of tea, but LATHOM caught my eye chasing home Spirit Of Wedza in the opening Class 5 sprint handicap. He hasn’t won a race since the Super Sprint at Newbury in 2015, and was off the track last season. He stuck his head down determinedly and chased home a winner that got a jump on him, clearly retaining ability and enthusiasm. He subsequently ran a cracker when a neck second to rejuvenated Duke Of Firenze at Thirsk and the latter franked the form impressively in better company at York yesterday. Lathom really ought to pick up a 0-75 or 0-80 event to start with and may progress from there.

    Fourth horse to keep an eye on is Richard Fahey’s MR DIAMOND who opened the season with a narrow win a 7 furlong Class 4 handicap at Wetherby. He then ran a creditable fifth in a Class 2 event at Goodwood. He was held up and his rider looked for the gap at the cutaway two out, but the end result favoured those coming down the centre so the form might be better than initial impression suggests. A mark of 82 gives room for manoeuvre class wise so his trainer should find another race soon.

    #1441970
    LostSoldier3
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    Robert North – a general question for you, would appreciate a rambling in-depth reply.

    The hardest yard for me to ‘get right’ up north (and I have been trading the northern dross quite a lot lately) must be Roger Fell‘s. I understand his MO is to get horses fit on the racetrack as he believes in doing the minimal amount of work on the gallops with the aim of giving his owners more days out and more prize money. He made a good point recently that many injuries occur at home, so you lengthen a horse’s racing career by doing as little on the gallops as possible. If they’re running and risking their tendons, in his opinion they might as well be doing it on the racecourse.

    As a result, I suppose you get the wildly fluctuating profiles many of his horses display. You often see one who has been out of form for three or four runs heavily gambled and winning just two or three days after a poor run in a similar contest. Are there any patterns you can pick up on when trying to secondguess his horses?

    He’s a shrewd buyer at the sales, often buying well-bred types at knock-down prices from underachieving trainers like Burrows, Tregoning and Weld. He has lots of nice types to go to war with this season – but when will they come good? Today’s Redcar pair of Watheer and Montalvan, for example, appeal as a pair who might rate significantly higher by the end of the season.

    #1443551
    Venture to CognacVenture to Cognac
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    Good luck Rob, and hope you dig out a few nice ones.

    Hopefully bump into you at Hamilton this year.

    #1443615
    robnorthrobnorth
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    Yes, I hope to get to a few more flat meetings this season, though Rotary and work have a habit of getting in the way! Hope to get to one of the Hamilton midweeks in Mid-June. Long term we have a weekend in York booked for their two-day meeting in October, finally giving me the chance to tick off the Knavesmire. It was that or Longchamp and York is good deal cheaper!

    Good start for the list with CHARLES KINGSLEY hosing up at 2/1 at Hamilton. I’ll keep him on the list as Mark Johnston generally gets his horses going in an upwardly mobile fashion. Lathom was entered in the Dash at Epsom off his old mark of 68, but had diddly-squat chance of getting in the line up! Long term I note Rare Groove is in the Northumberland Plate which suggests Jedd O’Keeffe will look to step him up in trip.

    Largely quiet week with very few races above Class 4 level. Musselburgh holds a decent meeting on Saturday, so hoping to spot an improver or two from that card.

    Lost Soldier – The impression I get with Roger Fell is that he works on much the same basis as Johnston, get them fit and run them often. His comment regarding minimal amount of gallop work pretty well confirms that theory. If you can’t beat the handicapper play along with him and chances with be there.

    #1443705
    LostSoldier3
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    You’re the man, Rob North. It really was nominative predestination when they created you.

    Classic bit of Roger Dodger action at Wetherby yesterday with Club Wexford winning just one day after finishing a tired 5/9. Admittedly he did a bit too much from the front the day before, but it was still another excellent bit of training. Wasn’t unbacked either!

    #1443732
    robnorthrobnorth
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    A bit of after timing really, but worth noting that Club Wexford has recorded 7 wins in his career and they have all been off a break of 15 days or less. Basically seems to lose his peak condition if he’s off the track for much more than 2 weeks, although I do note he’s gone close a couple of times on seasonal debut. Difficult to tie it down to the trainer as he’s only been with Roger Fell since early 2018, but Fell has prised 4 wins out of him at a good deal better percentage win than previously in the horse’s career. In that time he’s gone from a mark 76 to yesterday’s 79 which suggests good management by his trainer.

    A quick check of Fell’s record suggests this is a case of trainer pattern meets horse pattern. You would have made 18% profit since 2015 blind backing Roger Fell’s horses turning out within 2 weeks of their last run, and even better just sticking to handicaps.

    Mark Johnston has entered CHARLES KINGSLEY twice next week and interesting off top weight at Brighton on Monday, a fair looking event by Brighton standards, though there is a fairly lightly campaigned Mark Prescott improver in the entries in Final Rock.

    There are a couple of decent races at Carlisle today which I’ll have a glance at for the future.

    #1444130
    robnorthrobnorth
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    Staying on the Roger Fell theme, keep an eye out for HAROME appearing in the next couple of works. Slowly away in the Epsom Dash, this one came from right at the back halfway to finish sixth. Certainly one that could follow the Fell ‘quick return’ pattern and should pick up a decent five furlong sprint somewhere along the line, despite current ‘unspiring’ form figures.

    Another northern horse to note from this was EEH BAH GUM, Tim Easterby’s charge picking his way through late on to finish fifth. Easterby should be able place this one to advantage before long.

    #1444624
    robnorthrobnorth
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    A penalty kick knocked neatly into the net at Brighton as CHARLES KINGSLEY beat three opponents at 8/13 to give us 2 wins from 2 runs on this thread. Generally Mark Johnston gets these types to progress through the season and I would hope there would be a win or two more going forward. Charles Kingsley has acquitted himself solidly enough at Class 3 level previously so should be up to the challenge.

    Looks like a quiet week selection wise, but I’ll keep an eye on the action with a view to the future.

    #1444843
    robnorthrobnorth
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    MR DIAMOND goes for the opener at Newmarket (2.10), a Class 2 handicap over 7 furlongs. This is a similar event to the one he contested at Goodwood and he should be capable of getting in the mix at a decent price.

    #1444891
    robnorthrobnorth
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    An encouraging effort by MR DIAMOND to finish third at Newmarket in a competitive event. He was just caught for toe over two furlongs out, then had to switch to get a run, but was gaining on the first two in the closing stages. There has to be a decent handicap to be won with this one in the coming weeks.

    A two-year-old to add to the list is MOON OF LOVE, another Richard Fahey runner, who had a troubled run but still showed plenty of promise in the Hilary Needler Trophy at Beverley. She lost her balance when aimed at a gap up the inner and, having recovered from that, got a bit of a bump close home but still saw out her race very well. She will have no trouble winning a race. While well held by a decent winner she will come on for this and should win races.

    #1444901
    Venture to CognacVenture to Cognac
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    Agree with your pair in The Dash.

    Eeh Bah Gum a winner waiting to happen, and Harome was pretty encouraging as well.

    Love to see the pair of them in The Portland, or in the race that kicks off The Ebor meeting.

    #1444961
    robnorthrobnorth
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    LATHOM goes in the 9.05 at Pontefract tomorrow Monday June 10th. I thought a draw in stall 13 might not be helpful, but there doesn’t seem to be a strong bias in recent times over this trip at Pontefract, so Lathom appears to have a strong chance on recent form. No other list entries up to Friday.

    Current record since I started the list is 2 wins from 3 runners, winners at 2/1 and 8/13 with a 3rd at 10/1.

    #1444995
    robnorthrobnorth
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    LATHOM got home by a head in the last at Pontefract, but the second Shepherd’s Purse was four lengths clear of the third. Lathom retains a fair chunk of the ability that enabled him to win the Super Sprint, so stays on the list as well capable of moving up to take a Class 4 event. His current trainer Paul Midgley is a wiz with these types.

    #1445102
    Venture to CognacVenture to Cognac
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    How the hell did that go off at 6’s?

    Great start Rob

    #1446585
    robnorthrobnorth
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    CHARLES KINGSLEY steps up in class to contest a 1m 5f Class 2 Handicap at Ayr today. He has gone up significantly in the handicap, but while big on numbers this isn’t a particularly strong Class 2 event and Mark Johnston’s challenger is upwardly mobile.

    HAROME goes for the 3.45 a Class 4 five furlong handicap and can win this if he reproduces his Epsom effort which saw him work through the field to sixth after a slow start. LATHOM goes in the same race, remains well capable in this grade off his current mark and a reverse Exacta would pay nicely if things fall into place.

    Unfortunately I can’t get to Ayr today, but will be keeping an eye on the east coast action from the jumps meeting at Perth.

    MOON OF LOVE was aimed high at Ascot yesterday but it was always going to be a tough task and she was out the back in the Albany. She will be competitive when aimed lower.

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