Under the Radar #11

The start of the flat season has already seen some exciting newcomers catch the eye. But there were also some performances from horses in behind that warrant adding to trackers too.

Here are four to look out for in the future:

Tintoretto (4th)

Pink and purple silks, (Tom Ward)

Wednesday 31st March – 19.45 Kempton

Having not won a race since June 2020, the late money that pushed Tintoretto into joint-favouritism suggested that connections thought he had a very good chance of getting his head back in front. However, traffic issues on the straight made it impossible for him to win.

After pulling hard on his last start, it was key for jockey Kieran Shoemark to get the six-year-old to settle in the pack. But in doing so it meant that Tom Ward’s gelding was boxed in when he about to mount his challenge. Tintoretto was cruising into contention before Ahdab was pulled into his path by James Doyle, putting a sudden end to his chances.

Shoemark eventually managed to worm his way through the wall of horses, but it was too late and Tintoretto could only stay on for fourth. He is certainly capable of winning races at this level and the late money suggests he is one to look out for.

Riot (3rd)

Maroon and gold silks, (John and Thady Gosden)

Friday 2nd April – 13.50 Chelmsford City

The father-and-son duo of John and Thady Gosden has had an incredibly successful start to 2021, operating at a 36% win rate at the time of writing. The pair will certainly feel aggrieved that they didn’t have another winner last week when Riot was travelling like the best horse in his race but wasn’t allowed a clear run.  

Having grabbed the rail early on, Riot got into a great rhythm for jockey Cieren Fallon, but as he tried to pick up he was pinned in with nowhere to go. The run of Joey Haynes on Alminoor meant that Riot was boxed in behind the frontrunning Asad, who wasn’t finding an awful lot under pressure. Fallon attempted to barge his way out of the pocket, but Haynes held his ground and the bumping match that ensued didn’t help either rival.

Despite being under little pressure, Riot managed to run on for third in the closing stages. If granted a clear passage then I believe the four-year-old would have won, and therefore I expect him to get his head in front very soon.

Heights Of Abraham (4th)

Maroon and yellow silks, white cap, (Keith Dalgleish)

Saturday 3rd April – 14.25 Musselburgh

Having badly blown the start, the fourth-placed finish of Heights Of Abraham was a very good run as he returned to Class 2 company. The colt finished strongly and has the scope to have a very successful season.

The three-year-old was slowly away and became detached from the field very early on, with jockey Shane Gray forced to urge his mount to close the five-length gap between Heights Of Abraham and the sixth-placed Colonel Faulkner.

Heights Of Abraham was still in the rear of the field coming on to the home straight but when asked to quicken again by Gray he responded and made up ground with every stride. If it wasn’t for his early mishap then I believe Keith Dalgleish’s colt certainly would have been involved in the finish, he will have learnt plenty from this run and is one to keep onside of going forward.

I’m Digby (5th)

Red and green silks, (Thomas Gallagher)

Saturday 3rd April – 16.49 Wolverhampton

Amateur jockey John Reddington’s first ride of 2021 started in calamitous fashion after his mount, I’m Digby, veered badly right coming out of the stalls. However, Reddington still managed to guide the gelding to a promising fifth-place finish.

After losing several lengths at the start, I’m Digby was also forced widest of the ten-runner field for the entire 1m4f trip. Despite that, he made up good ground through the race and was in the front pair coming on to the home straight. Frustratingly for trainer Thomas Gallagher, Digby ran out of steam late on and dropped out of contention quite quickly, which was probably a result of the longer route he had to take.

The run indicated that I’m Digby’s best chance of winning his first-ever race may be over this 1m4f trip and he is certainly worth another go over it. Having only been shorter than 6/1 once in his 15 race career, this four-year-old may pop up at a nice price soon if running to this level again.

Under the Radar #10

The 2021 Cheltenham Festival provided National Hunt fans with four days of much-needed racing excitement. The impressive performances by Monkfish, Appreciate It, Shishkin and Honeysuckle, to name a few, stole the show. There were, however, plenty of others who showed serious potential.

Here are four that punters should consider adding to their trackers.

Sayo (4th)

Green and dark blue silks, striped cap, (Willie Mullins)

Wednesday 17th March – Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle

The handicaps are a dangerous game for punters at Cheltenham. Trying to decipher which runners are purposefully well-handicapped and which are simply just in poor form is a tricky task. The form of Willie Mullins’ Sayo heading into the Coral Cup was certainly of a horse that had been aimed at this race for a long time, and his run would go close to confirming that claim.

The grey was held up by Bryan Cooper but travelled into contention as he approached two-out. However, as he looked to close the gap on the leaders he was caught behind a wall of horses and left Cooper with no choice but to sit and suffer. Gradually the two that prevented Sayo from passing, Burbank and Garo De Juilley, faded and the seven-year-old powered home past tiring horses, but it was too late.

With fewer traffic issues, Sayo would certainly have gone closer than fourth. The speed he showed tackling the uphill finish indicated that this gelding is capable of winning races from his current mark and is one to keep an eye on. 

Haut En Couleurs (3rd)

Black and yellow silks, (Willie Mullins)

Friday 19th March – JCB Triumph Hurdle

The biggest eyecatcher of the Cheltenham Festival was Haut En Couleurs. The four-year-old’s UK debut came in an incredibly competitive Triumph Hurdle and he made a big impression. Willie Mullins’ gelding stayed on for a respectable third ahead of the popular Tritonic and the well-backed favourite Zanahiyr.

Despite this being only his second start, Haut En Couleurs travelled well for Paul Townend and responded well to pressure when asked to quicken. The French recruit jumped well and made up ground through the air, his jumping was actually better than plenty of the more experienced horses in the races.

Haut En Couleurs had only won a Juvenile Hurdle in France by a head before heading to Cheltenham, which must indicate that Mullins holds this horse in high regard. The form of that run is adding up well too, with the third-placed Magic Dream winning a Grade 2 in Auteuil. With this in mind, it is hard not to envision him landing some big races as his career progresses.

Edwardstone (5th)

Navy and light blue silks with cream cap, (Alan King)

Friday 19th March – County Handicap Hurdle

The placings in the McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle were dominated by big prices, with winner Belfast Banter (33/1), second-placed Petit Mouchoir (22/1) and UTR #6 selection Milkwood (28/1) making up the top three. But it was the run of Edwardstone in fifth that caught the eye.

Alan King’s seven-year-old was stuck in the rear of the pack but stormed home up the Cheltenham hill to grab fifth. The gelding’s jumping let him down in the opening stages of the race but he improved as time went by; however, by that stage, he already had the majority of the field ahead of him. Therefore, Edwardstone’s early lack of fluidity in the air made it a near-impossible task for his jockey Tom Cannon to get him home in front. Given the circumstances, the fifth-place finish is very respectable.

Edwardstone finished very strongly and over a slightly longer trip, he certainly would have been in contention in the closing stages. This performance showed ability that would suggest his fourth career victory isn’t far away.

Oscar Elite (2nd)

Orange silks, (Colin Tizzard)

Friday 19th March – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

At odds of 40/1, Oscar Elite was far too big of a price in the Albert Bartlett. His first two runs in the UK were mightily impressive and then his two following runs were somewhat disappointing on paper but excusable. Colin Tizzard’s gelding ran a big race and secured place money for connections, and he looks like he will improve as he develops.

The return to the 3m trip certainly suited the six-year-old as he stayed on well despite being caught out by the early kick from Mark Walsh on easy winner Vanillier. Oscar Elite’s jumping was slick and jockey Jonjo O’Neill Jr looked comfortable for the entirety of the race, and even when he asked his mount to quicken it didn’t require too much encouragement.

Going forward, Oscar Elite looks like he may go chasing next year, and if so, this will see him improve even further. If the Tizzard’s keep him at this trip, this gelding will be seen in the winner’s enclosure soon, especially if he takes to fences.

Under the Radar #9

‘First the worst, second the best?’ Let’s hope that is the case for these unlucky runners-up from last week.

Host (2nd)

Light blue and black silks, (Richard Hannon)

Monday 11th  January – 17.15 Wolverhampton

It was a successful Monday evening at Wolverhampton last week for Richard Hannon, with his only two runners finishing first and second in the same race. Both horses ran well, but I think there was a preference as to which horse should win of the pair – Muay Thai.

Of course, I could be completely wrong. But I think Thore Hammer Hansen could have asked his mount, the eventual second-placed Host, for more in the closing stages. In my opinion, he probably would have had it not been Hannon’s other runner in front.

The three-year-old was waited with by the apprentice jockey but made smooth headway on the bend and looked to be mounting a strong challenge. But, as Host quickened there seemed a reluctance for him to pose a serious threat to Muay Thai. Hammer Hansen opted to only whip his mount twice on the straight, then twice again just yards from the finish, even though the horse responds well to pressure.

The colt looked like he had plenty left in the tank and under a stronger ride, he may have won. I definitely think Host is one to keep an eye on, especially when the market speaks in his favour.

Woodview (2nd)

Red, white and black silks, (John Moore)

Wednesday 13th January – 16.45 Kempton

Sometimes it can take young horses a few runs to understand what is required of them, and that appears to be what has happened with John Moore’s Woodview. The three-year-old managed his best performance to date on Wednesday and looks capable of winning races in the future.

Woodview settled quickly in midfield for jockey Liam Keniry, showing no signs of greenness for the first time in his career. The gelding travelled smoothly throughout and even when the pace increased, he was still held together by Keniry.

Coming into the final few furlongs, Woodview was still cruising and was the last off the bridle. Then when asked to quicken, he obliged. Eventual winner, Nortonthorpe Boy, had broken too far clear to be caught by the time Woodview had reached top speed. But he still finished strongly and may have got his head in front over a longer trip.

Woodview looks capable of winning over a mile, but when he steps up further in distance I think he could take all the beating in these low-level affairs.

Kestenna (2nd)

Navy blue silks, (John Gosden)

Saturday 16th January – 12.50 Lingfield

John Gosden-trained debutants always attract market support. Therefore, it was no surprise to see Kestenna so strong in the betting last Saturday. She showed plenty of ability and is one to keep on side of in the future.

The filly broke poorly and ran greenly for the majority of the race. But, as jockey Kieran O’Neill continued to ask questions of his mount, Kestenna continued to find. Despite being off the bridle from a long way out and short of room on the home bend, the three-year-old finished with plenty of speed and managed to grab second-place on the nod.

Kestenna showed natural ability and speed, with a better break she may have even got the better of the well-backed favourite, Skulk. She will definitely win races and could be a decent prospect for Gosden.

Fils D’oudairies (2nd)

Black and pink silks, (Joseph O’Brien)

Sunday 17th January – 12.50 Punchestown

Unquestionably, Envoi Allen is the best National Hunt horse in training, so finishing within a few lengths of him is a commendable effort. Therefore, connections of Fils D’oudairies would have been very pleased with their geldings second-place finish behind him in the Killiney Novice Chase.  

After Asterion Forlonge fell at the first, the race looked like a simple task for Envoi Allen. But Joseph O’Brien’s Fils D’oudairies stayed on incredibly well in the final few furlongs to give the favourite something to think about, forcing Jack Kennedy to become slightly more animated in the saddle than usual to avoid the chance of an upset.

Fils D’oudairies jumped well throughout and found plenty in the closing stages. The way he hit the line suggested that he could cope with a slight step up in trip, or just a faster run 2m 4f trip as when Asterion fell there was no pace left in the field.

Under the Radar’s Previously Featured Horses

Name Date of Mention Form Since Mention Chances?
Arenas Del Tiempo 28/09/2020 (#1) 6 Potentially. He’s too young to rule out just yet. Over a longer trip and on slower ground.
Zeyaadah 28/09/2020 (#1) 1 Yes. She comfortably won a Class 1 Listed race so the claims are obvious. Holds an Irish Oaks entry.
Wrea Green 28/09/2020 (#1) 3 6 Yes. She has excuses for her last two runs.
San Donato 28/09/2020 (#1) Yes. Hasn’t raced since selection.
Never Said Nothing 09/10/2020 (#2) 9 8 2 Yes. He was well-backed last race and should be capable of winning a Class 6 soon. 
Optima Petamus 09/10/2020 (#2) 9 No. His last run was really disappointing and I can’t see him winning for a while.
Moans Cross 09/10/2020 (#2) F P 4 No. Comfortably beaten in his last three. He doesn’t look like winning anytime soon.
Fresh 09/10/2020 (#2) 2 Yes. I expect him to win several races next season. 
Finally Mine 20/10/2020 (#3) 9 Yes. Draw a line through her last run, she didn’t take to the AW.
Princess Midnight 20/10/2020 (#3) 1 8 5 No. She could slip down to a workable handicap mark but that will require a few more races.  
Giuseppe Cassioli 20/10/2020 (#3 ) 0 2 3 8  Yes. I’m surprised he hasn’t won by now. They tried a change of tactics with him last race which didn’t work. 
Zagato 20/10/2020 (#3) 2 Yes. He managed second in a Class 2 last time out despite breaking slowly. I’m expecting big things from him.
Galileo Silver 10/11/2020 (#4) 5 Yes. He had several excuses for his last run, which was his debut over fences. His next race will be more telling.
Cabot Cliffs 10/11/2020 (#4) 4 Yes. He ran well last time out despite winning greenly. That form is very strong.
Teona 10/11/2020 (#4) 1 Yes. Her last win was impressive and she looks special. Holds an Irish Oaks entry. 
Taipan 10/11/2020 (#4) Yes. Hasn’t raced since selection.
Tiger Crusade 25/11/2020 (#5) Yes. Hasn’t raced since selection.
Fanion D’Estruval 25/11/2020 (#5) F Yes. He looked like the probable winner when falling last time out. He holds Cheltenham entries so is clearly well-regarded.
Wild Romance 25/11/2020 (#5) Yes. Hasn’t raced since selection.
Wudashudacuda 25/11/2020 (#5) 0 2 Yes. He ran a good race behind a 4/5 favourite last time out. 
Ahorsewithnoname 10/12/2020 (#6) Yes. Hasn’t raced since selection.
Thyme White 10/12/2020 (#6) Yes. Hasn’t raced since selection.
Milkwood 10/12/2020 (#6) Yes. Hasn’t raced since selection.
Ronald Pump 10/12/2020 (#6) Yes. Hasn’t raced since selection.
Charles Le Brun 23/12/2020 (#7) 4 Yes. Judging by the gamble on him in the race before last, I think he is ready to go in and it is just a matter of when.
Getmegold 23/12/2020 (#7) Yes. Hasn’t raced since selection.
Foxes Tales 23/12/2020 (#7) Yes. Hasn’t raced since selection.
Espresso Freddo 23/12/2020 (#7) 3 Yes. He placed at odds of 22/1 in his last race from an awful draw. Should win soon.
Dickie Diver 06/01/2021 (#8) Yes. Hasn’t raced since selection.
Jack Of Trades 06/01/2021 (#8) Yes. Hasn’t raced since selection.
Rohaan 06/01/2021 (#8) Yes. Hasn’t raced since selection.
Chipiron 06/01/2021 (#8) 2 Yes. A solid second behind a fast-improving filly last time out. He pulled comfortably clear of the rest so is definitely capable.
Host 20/01/2021 (#9) Yes. Hasn’t raced since selection.
Woodview 20/01/2021 (#9) Yes. Hasn’t raced since selection.
Kestenna 20/01/2021 (#9) Yes. Hasn’t raced since selection.
Fils D’oudairies 20/01/2021 (#9) Yes. Hasn’t raced since selection.


Under the Radar #8

After a busy Christmas racing schedule, we return with the first Under the Radar of 2021. Hopefully, we can kickstart the year with some winners.

Dickie Diver (2nd)

Green and yellow silks, (Nicky Henderson)

Tuesday 29th December – 13.30 Newbury

In his first start since a creditable fourth in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle in 2019, Dickie Diver returned from his 655-day break in good style. Nicky Henderson’s eight-year-old stayed on well to grab second behind runaway winner Paint The Dream in a competitive Class 3.

The J P McManus owned gelding travelled smoothly for Aidan Coleman and jumped well. Coming over the last Dickie Diver was six lengths behind second-placed favourite Demachine, but made up ground quickly in the final furlong to beat him by just under a length.

Dickie Diver will strip fitter for this run and will come on from it. The way he stayed on also suggests that stepping back up in trip would be the best move, potentially returning to a 3m trip. With this run under his belt, it would be no shock to see him winning a race of this standard soon.

Jack Of Trades (2nd)

Beige silks, (Simon and Ed Crisford)

Saturday 2nd January – 12.35 Lingfield

The impressive victory of Wake Up Harry was a standout performance on Saturday, as was the run by Jack Of Trades in second-place. The three-year-old finished four lengths clear of third in an eye-catching run that showed signs of significant improvement.

Jack Of Trades, ridden by Nicky Mackay, was held up in midfield after breaking well and travelled smoothly throughout. Coming on to the straight the gelding was caught in behind a wall of horses and forced very wide. Despite that he still finished well and found plenty for pressure.

After two disappointing efforts over course and distance, this run was a step in the right direction for trainers Simon and Ed Crisford. The way Jack Of Trades pulled clear from the pack was impressive and the form should have some substance to it as the winner looked a smart prospect. It would be no surprise to see Jack Of Trades winning a race of this nature soon.

Rohaan (2nd)

Navy and white silks, (David Evans)

Saturday 2nd January – 14.20 Lingfield

The risks involved in holding up a horse are huge. It could encounter traffic when trying to make up ground or the jockey may mistime their challenge. On Saturday evening it was the latter.

David Evans’ fast-improving Rohaan looked set to make it four wins in a row for the majority of his 6f trip, until he entered the final furlong. Jockey Darrah Keenan still hadn’t asked the gelding for an effort with 200 yards to go, by which stage it was too late. The eventual winner, Bravado, had broken too far clear to be caught.

Rohaan ran on strongly and would have won cosily if asked to quicken sooner. The three-year-old has a great turn of foot and will be seen in stronger races than this Class 4. With Evans revealing that he was unhappy with the ride post-race, it would be a shock for Rohaan not to win soon under a less risky ride from Keenan.

Chipiron (3rd)

Pink and green silks, (Ivan Furtado)

Saturday 2nd January – 17.10 Wolverhampton

At odds of 33/1, the market didn’t fancy the chances of Chipiron. But despite the lack of support the French recruit ran a great race to finish third on stable debut for Ivan Furtado.

Chipiron broke slowly but was patiently waited with by jockey Elle-May Croot, making her professional debut. The gelding then made steady headway down the outside and found plenty when asked to quicken, finishing strongest of the field.

The five-year-old hung his head right in the closing stages and Croot did well to keep him straight, which may mean he still had more to give, and the left-handed track of Wolverhampton perhaps didn’t suit. Chipiron won six of his seven races on right-handed tracks in France so a switch back could see him improve, especially if stepped up in trip. He is definitely one to keep an eye on.

by Charlie Parker-Turner


Under the Radar #7

With 2020 drawing to a close, let’s see if we can highlight some potential winners for next year.

Charles Le Brun (2nd)

Blue, white and orange silks, (Jonathon Portman)

Monday 14th December – 20.10 Kempton

The phrase ‘Christmas gamble’ has been thrown around willy-nilly this month, with smaller stables supposedly backing their runners at big prices knowing they are above their mark. One runner that failed to land such a gamble was Charles Le Brun. The gelding was well-backed all day and went into 10/11 from 3/1 shortly before the off. Charles Le Brun was the best horse in the race but he had no luck in-running and lost by a nose.

Richard Kingscote did all he could to weave his way through the pack but no gaps opened up until the final furlong, but by that time it was too late. With a clear run, as the market knew, Charles Le Brun would have won easily. He is one to look out for in his next few races.

Getmegold (3rd)

Blue and yellow silks, (Colin Tizzard)

Tuesday 15th December – 13.35 Wincanton

Heading into the Racing TV Novices’ Hurdle all eyes were on exciting prospect Sizable Sam, but it was the performance of Getmegold that had punters talking after the race. Colin Tizzard’s gelding ran on for an impressive third-place despite being out of touch a long way from home.

The five-year-old jumped well but as the pace quickened on the back straight he was soon outpaced. Getmegold kept on well for Robbie Power and finished fastest of them all. He made up at least twenty lengths on the home straight and, over a longer trip, he may have sprung an upset at odds of 50/1.

It is unlikely that Getmegold will be priced up at such great odds next time out, but he could be a good bet in another Class 4.

Foxes Tales (2nd)

Blue and white silks with starred cap, (Andrew Balding)

Wednesday 16th December – 17.05 Kempton

Andrew Balding’s Foxes Tales made a promising debut last week in a race that he definitely could have won.

The two-year-old broke poorly and showed signs of greenness before he eventually settled in the rear of the pack. Coming on to the home straight Foxes Tales had plenty to do but made great headway on the inside to clinch second, showing a great attitude and an eye-catching turn of foot.

The winner, Beating All, had a significant lead on Foxes Tales two furlongs out and still only finished a length ahead of him. I really wouldn’t be shocked to see Foxes Tales running in Class 1/Class 2 races in the future. 

Espresso Freddo (2nd)

Red and green silks, (Robert Stephens)

Wednesday 16th December – 18.05 Kempton

It’s easy to say “What are they doing? I could have done better than that.” when watching racing from the comfort of our homes. However, backers of Espresso Freddo had every right to exclaim exactly that on Wednesday evening.

The six-year-old travelled into contention impressively but jockey Dougie Costello gave him too much to do late on and handed front-running Mostawaa the victory. Espresso Freddo was still held together almost one furlong out and looked like he could win on the bridle, but Mostawaa found extra and left Costello’s mount with no time to quicken.

In previous races, Espresso Freddo has found plenty off the bridle so this was certainly a misjudgement by Costello. If the handicapper doesn’t hike Robert Stephens’ gelding up in the weights then I can see him adding to his six career victories.

by Charlie Parker-Turner