Epsom & Chantilly – Fri, Sat & Sun

Here we are, the first weekend in June & the Oaks, Derby & Prix Du Jockey Club are upon us.
I always mention this, sadly it fails to sink in OR nobody cares & they really are lazy… The Derby is at Epsom, it’s NOT the Epsom Derby as some people keep referring to it as. The Guineas is at Newmarket, not the Newmarket Guineas, or the Doncaster St Leger, it’s just the St Leger! ( It’s like calling the FA Cup, the Wembley Cup…. Which is also on Saturday!)

Epsom – Home of the Oaks & Derby

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This is a rolling blog, which will be updated & retweeted daily, so you all can keep up to date with things. Jamie has an Oaks & Derby selection, while Neil will pop in on Saturday. Rich will have Epsom (Both days) & Chantilly(Sunday) covered, so let’s get cracking…

The going currently at Epsom is – Good, Good to Firm in Places

Epsom (Friday) –

Jamie –

4:30 – Oaks (G1)

Selection: Running Lion

The finest three year old Fillies in Europe do battle across the helter-skelter Epsom Downs. I always look for horses who are straightforward and uncomplicated as they are more likely to handle the course and the big atmosphere on the Downs. Running Lion ticks those boxes in my mind and plenty more. The daughter of the late Roaring Lion enjoyed a fine but low key Juvenile campaign with two wins from three starts in Novice Stakes company. She opened up her 2023 season with a Class 2 Conditions Stakes victory at Kempton, aptly running on well to score. Then came her Oaks prep in the Pretty Polly at Newmarket, where she made stylish progress from midfield to run out an easy winner, I have to say I was impressed. Ground on the tight side of good should be okay and I think 6/1 is very generous odds indeed. She looks certain to give her running. WITHDRAWN

Rich –

Epsom –

2.00 – Woodcote Stakes – Class 2 – 2yo Only – 6f 3yds…

Valour and Swagger – Blue Point X Music Chart colt.
Made a winning debut at Windsor on April 17th, when beating a field of 3 by 6 & 1/2 lengths on soft ground in a Class 5 5f Novice Stakes. Finished a 1 length runner up on May 13th at Ascot, in a Class 3 5f Novice Stakes, again on soft ground. Steps up in trip – Each Way10th..

4.30 Oaks – Fillies’ Group 1 – 3yo Only – 1m 4f 6yds…

Eternal Flame – Teofilo X Voice of Truth filly
3 runs to date, all on the All Weather. The filly made her debut at Wolves in a 1m 1f 109yd Class 4 Novice Stakes, finishing 3rd of 7 by 1 length from Crack of Light on February 13th, she ran again 12 days later (25th February) at Chelmsford in a 1m 2f class 4 Maiden, winning this time by 1 & 1/2 lengths. Given a 77 day break before returning at Lingfield in the 1m 4f Oaks Trial, which was held on the All Weather track, due to a Waterlogged Turf course. The filly beat Be Happy by 1 & 3/4 lengths & if she can transfer the AW form to the turf, she could be hard to beat … 7th, stopped very quickly
The DANGER is obviously Savethelastdance (According to the bookies), who won the Cheshire Oaks by 22 lengths on soft ground but i am more taken by another AOB trained filly, Be Happy, who was 2nd to Eternal Flame & could be the improver at a tasty each way price! NON RUNNER

The Derby Trophy

The going at Epsom is Good to Firm…

Saturday –

Jamie –

1:30 – The Derby (G1)

The ultimate prize in British flat racing and the race that the thoroughbred depends on. As it has been for the last couple of years this is a wide open Derby with runners whom you could all give some sort of a chance too. Despite a poor run in the 2000 Guineas I am still keeping the faith with Auguste Rodin. Now, there was a lot of talk heading into the Guineas that this could be the type of horse to attempt the Triple Crown, considering what he achieved as a 2YO. Sadly that dream was over a long way out in the Guineas as Auguste Rodin suffered interference 6F out and soon it was apparent that he was never travelling, finishing 22 lengths behind Chaldean. We saw last weekend that Aidan can get horses such as Little Big Bear & Luxembourg back to top form after a bad performance on their previous runs. I think Auguste Rodin may just be the best horse in the race and the step up to 1m 4f will likely bring out the best in him considering his pedigree (Deep Impact x Rhododendron). The team at Ballydoyle seem to be happy with how he has been going at home. Like many, I think White Birch could be the each way play up in trip… WINNER & 3RD

Neil – Has 2 today – 1 at Epsom & 1 at Hexham

1.30 Epsom, Betfred Derby, 1m 4f, 3yo.

For the first time in many a year the build up and interest in the blue ribband of the turf has been bigger than ever.
This has been due to a few points of interest, first up the off time of 1.30pm, some three hours earlier than it’s normal off time due to ITV’s coverage of the FA Cup Final which was moved back to a 3pm kick off due to police advice and the other matter being some pink t shirt wearing vegans who plan to protest and cause a rumpus, hopefully all will be ok on that front.

As for the race it looks an absolutely wide open renewal for the class of 2023, I’ll be honest I think getting the Grand National winner was far easier!

A lot of the trials were run on soft ground, some on the sand and others on good and with the forecast for a dry day means that Epsom will be very quick for Derby.
Plenty horses stand out here, I was at Chester for the Dee Stakes and was impressed with the Aidan O’Brien trained San Antonio has he dug in deep for what were very tough conditions and he is one of many for the Ballydoyle maestro.
Frankie who seems to be riding out of his skin in what’s his final Derby ride up to now, has a very good chance on what could be the appropriately named ARREST, but after yesterday’s Oaks, maybe the Chester trials aren’t as strong as we thought on first impression?
Going back through the Dante and one horse who really stands out for each way punters is the John Joseph Murray trained silver shadow, WHITE BIRCH.

This son of Ulysses began his season at Leopardstown in April where he caused a bit of a surprise when landing the Ballysax over 10f at 22-1, he showed that to be no fluke when he finished with a wet sail down the wide outside at York in the Dante and was showing no signs of stopping towards the end and shaped as if the extra two furlongs will suit him.
The Derby is a big ask for any horse but many bubbles will be burst come 1.35 and I can see this one going about his business quietly and hopefully coming from the clouds to surprise people like Eamonn Andrews and Michael Aspel used to do on ITV with the big red book. 3RD

2.55 Hexham, 3yo Hurdle, 3yo.

Just like Epsom this very important 3yo only race is ran on a very undulating uphill and downdale course although the stud fees for the winner won’t be offered due to the logistical reasons which won’t get mentioned about.

Trainer David Pipe has a very good record in this race and he’ll be very hopeful of his horse WAITARA obliging at the first time of asking.

A winner of two races on the flat, both over 1m2f, this filly landed a claimer at Toulouse in March and since that win she has made the switch to the West Country to be with the master of Pond House, she’s sure to have been well schooled and can make a winning debut here. NON RUNNER

Rich –

Epsom –

1.30 – The Derby – Group 1 – 3yo Only – 1m 4f 6yds
Arrest – Frankel X Nisriyna colt

Winner of 3 of his 5 starts with 2 places. Ended 2022 finishing a head 2nd to Dubai Mile in the Group 1 Crit St-Cloud Stakes over 1m 2f on heavy ground, the front 2 were 6 lengths clear of 3rd Adelaide River. Made seasonal return on May 10th at Chester in the Group 3 Chester Vase over 1m 4f 63yds, beating Adelaide River by 6 & 1/2 lengths. The good to firm ground is no issue, with Arrest winning a class 4 maiden at Sandown on the ground last August. UNPLACED
I also like White Birch ( Ulysses X Diagnostic), who has 2 wins from his 4 starts & won the Group 3 1m 2f Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown on season return in April before finishing a neck 2nd to The Foxes in the 1m 2f 56yd Dante Stakes at York on May 18th. He gave the impression that day, as he was closing that a bit further, he could have won & is a decent Each Way shout. 3RD

3.20 ‘Dash’ Handicap – Class 2 – 3yo+ – 5f….
Lihou – Mayson X Kodiac Island 7yo gelding.

43 turf runs with 4 wins & 9 places. Has run 4 times on turf this season since April, winning once with 2 places. His win came over C&D in a Class 3 Handicap in April (Soft) by a neck from a mark of 82 & his last run was on May 26th in a Class 3 5f Handicap at Goodwood, finishing a 3/4’s of a length 2nd from todays mark of 84 – Each Way Missed break, Lost an Iron. LAST

Chantilly – Home of the Prix Du Jockey Club ( French Derby)

Sunday – Chantilly

Rich –
The going at Chantilly is currently – Good, Soft to Good (France Galop)

The shortlist for Prix Du Jockey Club day

1.08 – Prix La Fleche Listed Stakes – 2yo Only – 5f..
Dorothy Lawrence – Soldier’s Call X Festoso filly.

3 & 1/4 length runner up to Persian Dreamer in a 5f Class 2 Maiden at Newmarket on April 19th before finishing 2nd again in the 5f Marygate Fillies’ Listed Stakesat York on May 19th to Love A Grey.. 3RD
1.43 Grand Prix de Chantilly – Group 2 – 3yo+ – 1m 4f..
Simca Mille – Drops to Group2 level, finished 2nd in Prix Ganay, Group 1 on April 30th. C&D winner. Likely to be odds ON. WINS 2/5 ON

3.05 Prix du Jockey Club – Group 1 – 3yo Only – 1m 2f 96yds..

This could well be a cracking race, with French Guineas winner, Marhaba Ya Sahafi (Top Rated 114) & 4th that day, American Flag lock horns, the form has flip flopped with these two & could well be going at each other, if they stay the extra 2 furlongs.
Rajapour, who was an unbeaten 2yo has yet to fire in 2 starts as a 3yo & was 2 &1/2 lengths behind American Flag in the Group 3 Fontainebleau & was 19 & 1/2 lengths behind Big Rock in the Group 3 Prix de Guiche. Big Rock is 4 from 4 since moving yards & has won a pair pf Group 3 Stakes over 1m 1f, with him winning by 5 lengths in the Prix de Guiche at this course on May 9th. He is likely to go off as Favourite for this race too. Two other’s whose form ties in with Big Rock are Flight Leader, a Group 3 winner over 1m 2f but was 21 lengths behind Big Rock on May 9th, while Padishakh has been behind Big Rock on his last 2 starts, the last time by 14 & 1/2 lengths.

Feed the Flame is an interesting runner, despite only having 2 runs, with both over 1m 2f 151yds & was supplemented for this race, he is unbeaten. He won 2 stakes races but his last run had the form franked by Runner UP First Master, who landed a 1m 3f Group 3 on May 28th. Another who is unbeaten is Ace Impact, who won the 1m 2f Listed De Suresnes Stakes at this course on May 4th by 1 & 3/4 lengths.
An outsider, who stays 1m 4f is Winter Pudding, he was a runner up in a Saint-Cloud 1m 2f Listed Stakes before winning the De L’avre Listed but this could be on the sharp side & maybe one to note come October.
Of the 2 UK & Irish raiders, Epictetus is a Epsom Listed winner over 1m 2f but was 5th behind The Foxes in the Dante at York 7 has a fair bit to improve, as for AOB’s Continuous, who was 3rd in the Dante & will likely improve a lot for the run & I expect him to finish ahead of Epictetus…

Inconclusion, although Big Rock is the Likely favourite with Feed The Flames, I’m going for Continuous to land a Derby Double for Team O’Brien with Winter Pudding at a big Each Way price….

Result :
1 – ACE IMPACT – Still Unbeaten
3- Marhaba Ya Sanafi

3.50 Prix de Sandringham – Group 2 – 3yo Only – 1m…
Sauterne – Kingman X Salicorne filly.

3 turf runs, with 1 win & 1 Place. Won the 7f Listed Du Pont Neuf Stakes on April 27th before finishing a 3 length 3rd to Blue Rose Cen in the 1m Group 1 Prix Poule d’Essai des Pouliches on May 14th.. 2ND
4.25 Prix de Royaumont – Group 3 – 3yo Only – 1m 4f…
French Bob – Galileo X Parlour filly.

3 career runs, with 2 runs in 2023. Won on debut last December in a 1m 1f 97yd All Weather Maiden at Deauville, before returning to the same AW track in March, when finishing a 1/2 length 2nd.
Ran a 1 & 3/4 length 2nd when last seen on April 14th in the 1m 2f Saint-Cloud 1m Derban Stakes to Left Seg… UNPLACED

Thanks for popping by, we really appreciate your support.

Good Luck – The AOLR Team


Watty’s FlatSpots -Haydock

Neil Watson returned to his favourite track of Haydock, where the Temple Stakes was top of the pops on Saturday, here is his review along with 3 to follow from the day…

It was to be for two B’s at Haydock on Saturday as Karl Burke and William Buick teamed up for Group 2 success as Dramatised flew home like the scolded cat to land the Temple Stakes over the flying five furlongs.

In what looked a decent renewal she was always up with the pace and ran on very gamely for what was her seasonal debut as she beat the veteran of the race, Equilateral , by a length, winner of the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot last year, it’s more than likely she will stay at 5f and be aimed at the two major Group 1 races over this trip in the Kings Stand at the Royal meeting then the Nunthorpe at York.


The biggest disappointment came in fellow 3yo filly, The Platinum Queen , who was prominent before fading away very tamely to trail home in last place, this was her first start for Roger Varian and while she is clearly better than this, it has to be a worry that perhaps she hasn’t trained on?

Aidan O’Brien has never had a winner at Haydock at all in his training career, in fact his last winner in Merseyside came with the legend Istabraq in the 1999 Aintree Hurdle but this afternoon with the help of Frankie Dettori, that particular maiden tag was shed as Little Big Bear absolutely bolted up in the Sandy Lane Stakes over 6f.

A top 2yo in Ireland last season he didn’t have the best of times in the 2000 Guineas three weeks ago but dropping back to sprinting and down in grade to a Group 2 he looked absolutely revitalised and this will certainly bode well for this week with the Derby coming up that Aiden can turn them from chumps to champs in such a short space of time.

Little Big Bear

He will almost certainly be Commonwealth Cup bound now and with a Haydock win under his belt then Haydock regulars will hope to see him back here in September for the Group One Sprint Cup which incidentally is the only G1 race in the UK that the Ballydoyle master has yet to land and he won’t have a better opportunity now to get that.

Frankie treated the crowd to two flying dismounts on the day, Little Big Bear was the second win on a double on the day for the popular Italian in his swansong season as he also put in a fine display of front running riding in the big handicap of the afternoon, the Silver Bowl on Covey for John and Thady Gosden who made light work of his opening handicap mark of 90, he is definitely far better than this and should get some black type during the season.

Frankie’s famous flying dismount ( After winning on Covey)

Of the other races, the one race that for myself had a contender for ride of the season came in the opener, a class 5 handicap over 1m4f as Ray Dawson got In The Breeze up on the line in the very last strides, stuck behind horses coming up the straight he had to angle out and come over the top to get the win.

Now though it’s time for a look at the ones to take out from the day’s action.

1 – Mountain Road – 4yo Bay Gelding – Trainer : David Simcock.

Although a lot better on the all weather than turf there was something very telling about this one’s seasonal reappearance in the 2m handicap, he was only beaten three and three quarter lenghts in fourth but ran on nicely towards the end and shaped like the run would have done him the world of good.

I can envisage him being aimed at either the Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting or depending what weight he gets then a crack at the Northumberland Plate or the consolation race.

2 – Royal Cape – 3yo Bay Colt – Trainer : Hughie Morrison.

Covey was without doubt the handicap snip in the Bowl but Royal Cape ran a solid race in defeat coming home in second spot.

The fast ground definitely didn’t suit him and with a bit of juice he can win something again soon and I would not be surprised if he went up in trip too as he looks like he could stay 1m2f in time.

3 – Shouldvebeenaring – 3yo Grey Colt – Trainer : Richard Hannon.

Class act of the day came with Little Big Bear in the Sandy Lane Stakes but this horse was keeping the winner honest right upto the line.

A very busy and durable type, he came here after tasting success in a Listed race at Newmarket over 7f and was running on very nicely towards the end.

Myself I think that a return to 7f will prove to be the best option for him as it’s a distance he could easily excel at during the season. 

Article & Pictures – Neil Watson

AOLR Publication – Published : May 2023

Haydock, The Curragh & French Racing (Bonus)

It’s all going on this weekend, the EFL Play Off Finals, Last day of the Premier League season, Monaco Grand Prix plus the BIG races at Haydock, The Curragh & some nice Group racing in France with the Temple Stakes, Irish Guineas & some nice Group racing in France – it’s a huge weekend.. OH plus its another Bank Holiday!

Haydock Park

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Jamie, Rich & Neil take you through the racing. Plenty to get our teeth in to, so let’s get cracking

Jamie –

3:40 – Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas (G1)

Selection: Royal Scotsman 

The opening classic of the Irish flat season has drawn a high class field of 11. The form of the Newmarket equivalent is represented by the runner up Hi Royal, third home Royal Scotsman and the fourth Galeron, whilst Charyn was well beaten. I was delighted with my horse to follow for the flat season Royal Scotsman ran at Newmarket on his first start of the new campaign. He was held up towards the rear at Newmarket and considering how hard he pulled and met trouble it was a huge performance to even get close to the front two at the line. Making up a lot of ground coming down the dip it looked like he may even challenge Chaldean for a brief second a furlong or so out. It sounds like the team at Paul & Oliver Cole’s stables are happy with how Royal Scotsman has been working at home, so much so that his owners have stumped up 50,000 Euro to supplement for today’s Group 1. He should come on for that Newmarket outing and the ground is more in his favour this time as it will be the quick side of good by race time. He faces some tough opposition today. If he settles better today I really think my selection will take a lot of beating. We still aren’t quite sure how good some lining up in this race really are yet and it will be fascinating to see how it all plays out. UNPLACED

4:15 – Finlay Volvo Handicap (3YO) 

Selection: Caracci 

This looks like it could be quite an informative race over the 7F trip with some promising unexposed types clashing with the more exposed 3yo campaigners. My eyes were drawn to Caracci straight away at the prices with 12/1 or bigger available, not many of Aidan O’Brien’s go off at that price in a handicap. Caracci, a son of American sire Quality Road has the three races under his belt to date with form figures of 51-3. It was an ordinary enough debut at the Curragh last October behind Irish Guineas hopeful Paddington but he built on that experience next time out, beating his stablemate Farnborough at Dundalk, who is the choice of Ryan Moore in this contest. On his first start of 2023 I think the heavy ground at Leopardstown went against my selection as he was sent off 5/1 for a Group 3 Guineas trial. He made the running and just could not quicken on the deep ground as he finished third, not helped by running off the bend as well. Back in calmer waters today on much more suitable ground I can see this fella outrunning his odds and being right in the mix. High enough in the weights but he does have a little bit of class.  UNPLACED

*Each way advised* 

Rich –

Curragh –
1.20 Maiden – 2yo Only – 6f….

Mr Saturday – Blue Point X Gwael colt.
A 2 length runner up on debut in a Naas 5f maiden on good to yielding on May 6th. Up in trip..
DANGER – Unquestionable – Wottoon Bassett X Strawberry Lace colt, ran a 2 & 1/4 length 3rd to His Majesty ( Great chance in the Group 3, 6f Marbel Hill Stakes – 1.35) in the 5f Listed First Flier Stakes on May 1st (Odds ON) 2ND & DANGER WON!

I also like PADDINGTON (& the bear too) in the 3.40 Irish 2000 Guineas, the Siyouni colt has looked really good this season when winning both starts ( 7f Naas handicap on heavy ground) and won nicely on May 1st when taking the C&D Listed Tetrach Stakes..
I actually think AOB will have a really good Saturday! WINNER

Haydock –
3.00 Sandy Lane Stakes – Group 2 – 3yo Only – 6f…

Little Big Bear – No Nay Never X Adventure Seeking colt
Didn’t run his real race at Newmarket , when upped to 1m in the 2000 Guineas & reportedly came back lame, so it’s a welcome return to the course & back to 6f. The Phoenix Stakes Group 1 winner, can add to his sprinting reputation after the 7 length demolition of Persian Force last August & add this to the Group 3 Anglesey Stakes he won last July… WINNER
DANGERS are likely to come from Bradsell, who was a 1 & 1/2 length 3rd to Cold Case, the Redcar 6f Listed winner, in the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes at Ascot on May 3rd (Both entered in this race), while AL Dasim is a Meydan 6f Group 3 winner…

Neil –

2.25 Haydock, Betfred Bowl, 1m,3yo 

A typical looking renewal of this handicap with plenty of unexposed types and lots of potential in what looks a deep race.

Plenty of the big yards are represented here such as the Gosden’s who have a lively chance with Covery under the assistance of Frankie who has a good book of rides and with only a few more visits to Haydock likely to happen before he hangs up his saddle he has a good chance of bagging a winner but i don’t think it’ll be with this one.

Instead I’m going for the Ed Bethell trained runner JAMES MCHENRY who won a nice handicap over course and distance a fortnight ago and being 2/2 over a mile this season he should have more to offer despite the 7lb rise.

He dug in deep that day and with conditions near enough the same he can give a good account of himself in this race. UNPLACED

3.30 Haydock, Betfred Temple Stakes,5f,3yo+

The days of Battaash have sadly long gone now and he was a favourite among Haydock regulars.

In a very nice looking race on paper that won’t take long to do it’ll pay to be on the speed here and one horse who should be able to make the transition from 2 to 3 is the Roger Varian trained THE PLATINUM QUEEN who will be ridden by Hollie Doyle.

Eight starts as a 2yo yielded four wins including a Prix De L’Abbaye at Longchamp against her elders.

Things didn’t go to plan at Keeneland but she was drawn wide in what was her first race around a turn, back on today’s straight 5f she will be far more at home.

Providing she has trained on through the winter i can see her being involved in this contest that’ll have a fair few of them going Royal Ascot bound for the Kings Stand next month. 


Curragh & Saint-Cloud…

Jamie –

2:45 – Tattersalls Gold Cup (G1)

Selection: Vadeni 

Ireland’s only 4YO+ Group 1 had been on a downward spiral for a few years but after a top notch edition won by State Of Rest last year it is back and kicking. Six horses line up ready to tackle the Curragh’s 1m 2 1/2f course with some serious talent on display. As the market suggests it looks like the winner will be either multiple G1 scorers Vadeni, Bay Bridge or Luxembourg. I’ve been a believer in Vadeni ever since he stormed to victory in the Prix Du Jockey Club and Eclipse Stakes last summer and I think he may have too much for Bay Bridge and Luxembourg today. Having signed off a fine 2022 campaign with a half length second in the Arc, Vadeni returned to Paris-Longchamp for his first outing of 2023 in the Prix Ganay. He appeared to be in need of the run as he could never get on terms with the leaders from the rear, finishing over a length behind Bay Bridge so he will need to overturn that form. One thing in Vadeni’s favour will be the quick ground and I think going up an extra half furlong will play to his strengths more so than his rivals this afternoon. Luxembourg got the better of my selection in the Irish Champion last September but I wasn’t impressed with his prep run here a few weeks ago. As the ratings and form suggest there doesn’t appear to be a lot between the three horses mentioned. What a corker of a race in prospect. Enjoy folks! UNPLACED

3:15 – Lanwades Stud Stakes (G2)

Selection: Jumbly 

Eight Fillies / Mares go to post for this G2 over a mile. Joseph O’Brien has a strong team with three runners headed by the very useful Honey Girl who so far is 2-2 this season. I think at the prices though her stablemate Jumbly is the value with 11/2 available in places. The 4YO has not been seen since getting up to land a G3 at Ascot on King George day last year due to injury. Now having been switched to Joseph’s stable from Roger Charlton’s Newmarket base she lines up for a first start on Irish turf with ground conditions in her favour as she appears to relish quick conditions, something which may well suit her better than most in here. On ratings she is not far away and if ready to rock and roll I think she has a big say in the outcome of this race. This Gleneagles Filly may have more improvement in her. Insinuendo has excellent form in the book with Luxembourg from last year and for me is the one to beat. 2ND

I don’t have any strong opinion on the Irish 1000 Guineas, I just think the fav Tahiyra will prove too good for the opposition. 

Rich –

Saint-Cloud –

2.45 Prix Corrida Stakes – Group 2 – 4yo+ – 1m 2f 96yds
Nashwa – Frankel X Princess Loulou 4yo filly

Last seen finishing a 7 & 1/2 length 4th to Tuesday in the 1m 1f 110yd Breeders Cup Fillies’ & Mares’ Turf at Keeneland in November having finished a 3/4’s of a length 2nd in the Prix de l’Opera in October. The 2 time Group 1 winner will be looking to get back to winning ways & add to the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood & the Prix de Diane at Chantilly as a 3yo. This is her season return… UNPLACED

Curragh –

1:33 – Prix Du Palais-Royal (G3) 

5.25 – Handicap – 4yo+ – 1m 6f…
Star Kissed – Sea the Stas X Desert Snow 4yo filly

Runner up both starts as a 3yo in 2022 over 1m 3f & 1m 4f before having a break. Made her season return in a 1m 4f Bellewstown Maiden on April 6th, winning by 1 & 1/2 lengths on heavy ground. Steps up in trip today on her Handicap debut carrying just 9s 3lbs & from an opening mark of 89, there’s a lot to like about this filly…. 6TH

The Rest –

Like Jamie, I think VADENI will win the Gold Cup, the Arc runner up finished 4th on season return by 3 lengths & will come on for the run but he will have to be running near top form to get the better of Bay Bridge & Luxembourg. I also fully expect TAHIYRA to win the Irish 1000 Guineas at 3.50, having finished 2nd to Mawj in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on season return, she will have improved for the run & should win well, with Meditate running in to a place…. Vadeni – UNPLACED / Tahiyra WON
And finally, AOB will likely take the spoils in the 4.25 Gallinule Stakes with DRUMROLL, who was a 1 & 1/2 length 2nd to Paddington in a Course 1m Listed race & Paddington, won the Irish 2000 Guineas yesterday… WON VIA STEWARDS

Monday –


Rich –

1.33 – Prix Du Palais-royal Stakes – Group 3 – 4yo+ – 7f..
Egot – Invincible Spirit X Entertain 5yo colt.

Won this race last season by 1 & 1/2 lengths from Marianafoot & had gone 4 runs without a win until May 4th, when landing a Chantilly 6f Listed race. Hopefully a going day tomorrow!

3.25 Prix D’ispahan – Group 1 – 4yo+ – 1m 1f 43yds
Anmaat – Awtaad X African Moonlight 5yo gelding.

Ran a 2 & 1/2 length 2nd to Adayar in the Group 3 1m 2f Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown on May 7th, which was his season return.
Winner of the Prix Dollar, Group 2 back in October at this course having won the Group 3 Rose of Lancashire Stakes (1m 2f) at Haydock….

Jamie –

1:33 – Prix Du Palais-Royal (G3) 

Selection: Egot 

A competitive renewal of this 7F G3 with £35,000 going to the winner. Several in form horses go head to head and I think Egot for the powerful Fabre, Barzalona and Godolphin axis can repeat last year’s success. This 5YO son of Invincible Spirit has been out racing three times already in 2023 with a good Listed win at Chantilly last time out over 6F, showing that he still has plenty of boot in the tank. It was an impressive return as before that a venture on the dirt on Dubai World Cup night did not work out at all as he was virtually pulled up. He has a win over C&D in the bank and the drying ground will not deter confidence either. I think he has every chance for top connections. Amilcar is undoubtedly the main danger and in all truth is the one to beat. He was a G3 winner last July over C&D and is race fit just like Egot…

Thanks for popping by all weekend, we really appreciate your support

All the Best – The AOLR Team

York… Days 1 & 2 & Rolling on to Newbury..

The Dante meeting at York is always full of thrills & clues for the bigger races ahead in the flat season calendar..

Saturday has the Lockinge at Newbury & were be ready…

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This is a rolling blog for Thursday & Friday, who knows we may even go for 3 in a row with Saturday too

It’s Dante day on the Knavesmire, the ground is good & let’s hope the racing is as good as the card suggests..

Before we start, we would like to pay a brief tribute to Creative Force, who sadly lost his life yesterday at York, a cracking sprinter who won the 2021 Champion Sprint Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day. He will be remembered fondly & will be missed by everyone. Our thoughts are with everyone at Charlie Appleby’s yard, Godolphin & everyone, who looked after & came in to contact with him. Run Free.

Creative Force ( Neil Watson)


Jamie –

3:00 – Sky Bet Hambleton Handicap 

Selection: Master Richard 

A very competitive handicap over a mile. I have to say that looking through the form that Master Richard is lightly weighted considering his C&D form. Ann Dufield’s 4YO has been in excellent form these past 12 months, Running consistently well over a variety of trips from 6f to just over a mile. The highlight of Master Richard’s 2022 campaign came at York’s Ebor meeting where he won a class 2 handicap, well, I say won as in won in the stewards room and rightly so as he was carried across the track. There was also another success over C+D at a meeting in June last year, this time down at class 4 level. Connections will have been very pleased to see him win on the Newcastle all weather on his seasonal reappearance a few weeks ago. It won’t be as easy to lead today but there is a lot going for this horse and at 16/1 he could be an each way steal. The more the ground dries out the better… UNPLACED

*Each way advised* 

3:35 – Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes (G2) 

Selection: Continuous 

There is a lot to like about the dozen horses lining up to contest this year’s Dante. The one that has caught my eye is Ballydoyle’s Continuous, a son of Japanese super sire Heart’s Cry out of the well bred Galileo Mare Fluff. He was a perfect 2-2 as a juvenile last year showing a very professional attitude as he progressed through his races. It’s always a good sign when one of Aidan’s wins on debut and Continuous managed to do just that at the Curragh last August, getting well on top inside the final 150yds. It was a very different test on his final outing as a 2YO, a French G3 at Saint Cloud. The 2022 Prix Thomas Byron will always be best known for Cristophe Soumilion’s moment of madness that sent Rossa Ryan flying of his mount. Despite very soft / heavy ground, Continuous outstayed his more experienced rivals to win by a length. Racing back on a sounder surface and the step up in trip looks like it will bring out the best in him. This horse may be flying under the radar in terms of Coolmore’s Derby prospects and is one I like very much. 3rd

Rich –

2.25 Middleton Fillies’ Stakes (F&M) – Group 2 – 4yo+ – 1m 2f 56yds..

Free Wind – Galileo X Alive Alive Oh – 5yo Mare
Had 1 run last season in the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks over 1m 4f, winning by 2 & 1/4 lengths from Sea La Rosa & hasn’t been seen since, 320 days ago, so fitness taken in good faith. She does say 1m 6f as we found out in 2021 when the mare landed the Park Hill Stakes(F&M) at Doncaster in September 2021. She had 1 defeat as a 3yo from her 5 starts, which was to Golden Pass, in the 1m 4f Aphrodite Stakes at Newmarket by 3/4’s of a length. She has also won the 1m 4f 96yd Prix Minerve at Deauville… WINNER

The DANGERS are likely to come from last years runner up ARISTIA, won won the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet (1m 2f) when last seen in August 2022 & SEA SILK ROAD, who is a Goodwood 1m 2f Listed winner from last May & was last seen finishing 4th to Eternal Pearl in the Group 3 Princess Royal Stakes over 1m 4f last September..

4.45 Maiden – Class 2 – 2yo Only – 6f…

Emperor of Rome – No Nay Never X Coral Shell colt.
Runner up on debut at Dundalk(AW) in a 5f maiden by 1/2 a length to Parkside Boy. Up in trip. NON RUNNER
The DANGERS are IMPRESSIVE ACT, who was a 650,000G yearling. His Dam, Dabyah, won the Fred Darling & was 3rd in the Prix Marcel Boussac.
Another who could well win is CUBAN THUNDER, who was a 1 & 1/4 length 2nd on debut over 5f in a Class 4 Novice Stakes on April 18th. 3rd, Hackman won in this class at Chester last week & 5th has also won… Cuban Thunder beat Impressive Act by 2 lengths

Friday – York

Rich –

1.50 Maygate Fillies’ Listed Stakes – Class 1 – 2yo Only – 5f….

Persian Dreamer – Calyx X Surprisingly filly.
Made a winning debut at Newmarket on April 19th in a Class 4 5f Maiden, from Dorothy Lawrence by 3 & 1/4 lengths.
The filly is my Flat horse to follow for 2023.. 4TH

2.25 The Michael Seely Memorial Fillies’ Stakes – Listed – Class 1 – 3yo Only – 7f 192yds…

Silver Lady – Sea the Stars X Lumiere filly.
1 run 1 win. Debut at Newmarket on April 19th in a Class 4 1m maiden, winning by 3 & 3/4 lengths from Never Ending, 3rd & 10th have both won Class 5 maidens since. I really like this filly & I had added her to my tracker the day before the race. Sea the Stars is my Favourite horse & I have big hopes for this filly. 2ND
There are plenty of DANGERS in this race –
Queen For You – winner of a 1m class 2 Novice Stakes by 2 lengths at Ascot on May 3rd, holds a Coronation Cup G1 entry..
Juliet Sierra – Most experienced filly in the field, Top weight ( 9st 7Lbs) Winner of the 6f Group 3 Dick Poole Stakes at Salisbury last September.
Fakhama – Winner of a 7f Newbury Class 4 Maiden on April 21st by 2 & 1/4 lengths.

Jamie –

3:35 – Boodles Yorkshire Cup (G2)

Selection: Broome 

A small but select field of 7 lines up for this 1m 6f Group 2. The top four in the market consisting of Quickthorn, Broome, Eldar Eldarov and Siskany are the ones to focus on. I was impressed with how Broome coped with the step up in trip to 2m on Dubai World Cup night to win the big stayers race, getting up to beat Siskany. Broome is a classy individual and has nearly visited more countries than Sir Ranulph Fiennes! The decision to go for these cup races could pay off for Aidan O’Brien’s 7YO, who’s stamina and tough attitude are his biggest assets. Whilst I also think the long home straight at York will really play to his strengths. As he showed in Dubai, Broome still possesses a nice turn of foot and with the ground quickening up all the time, he has every chance on all known form. Quickthorn is the main danger as he loves York and may get an easy lead up front. 3RD

4:10 – Darley Novice Stakes (Class 2) 

Selection: Kathab 

An intriguing Novice Stakes in store here with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th from the Wood Ditton clashing with Craven 5th Mostabshir. Whilst Mostabshir deserves to be favourite on form alone I think he may find it a real stiff task to concede 6lbs to Kathab, who was second in the Wood Ditton. The form of that race hasn’t been let down by the winner Passenger, who was unlucky in running when third in the Dante Stakes. I liked the way my selection came home on the Rowley mile, staying on well to beat the third New Business, who reopposes again today by over a length going away. For his first outing on a racecourse it was a pleasing start, especially considering Jim Crowley only used the whip once.  Being a son of Kingman he will relish this quick-ish ground and that debut run will stand him in good stead. Big chance. 3RD

Newbury Races – Photo by Gavin James.

Saturday – Newbury… & Thirsk

Jamie –

3:35 – Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (G1)

Selection: Modern Games 

Newbury’s only top level flat race has drawn a quality field of 13. As the market suggests it is an open contest with 3/1 the field at the time of writing. Dual Breeders Cup winner Modern Games was one of the best milers in Europe last season and to me he is a rock solid option today. This son of Dubawi has some outstanding form in the book including a second to the mighty Baaeed in the Sussex Stakes last campaign. Modern Games started off his 2022 season with a pair of trips to France. He ran out a convincing French 2000 Guineas winner before not quite getting home over 1m 2f when third in the Prix du Jockey Club on soft ground. A lesser effort at Deauville was followed by that terrific 1 3/4 lengths second to Baaeed at Goodwood. The crowning glory of Modern Games season came in the Breeders Cup Mile where he charged down the outside to score readily by nearly a length. Another trip across the big blue pond was the starting point for his 2023 campaign last month at Keeneland. He ultimately found Chez Pierre too strong and had to settle for second in the G1 Makers Mile. Modern Games will be entitled to come on for that run and looks assured to give his running. I’m hoping that the ground will quicken up a little for my selection. To be honest, I think he is the best horse in the race. WINNER

4:17 – Sky Bet Handicap (Class 3)

Selection: The Cookstown Cafu 

A strong race for this class and there is no doubt that The Cookstown Cafu is the form horse coming into this race. Kevin Ryan’s team have had some great days recently with this fellow having won 3 of his last 4 races. The Cookstown Cafu made it 2-2 with a commanding pace setting performance at Pontefract last week, repelling all raiders and winning comfortably in the end. One thing from looking through his form is that he is very ground versatile and equally adaptable between 7f – 1m. On his seasonal reappearance on May 3rd The Cookstown Cafu once again made all to score by just under a length over 7f at Redcar. Everything suggests that this horse is improving with age and with only a 4lb rise in the weights, he has a good chance of claiming the hat trick. It wouldn’t surprise me if he tried to make all once again.  2ND

Rich –

Newbury – 3.00 London Gold Cup – Heritage Handicap – Class 2 – 3yo Only – 1m 2f…

Desert Hero – Sea the Stars X Desert Breeze colt.
2 wins from 3 starts last season & this is his seasonal return. The colt has Derby & King Edward VII entries too. He was last seen landing a Class 5 1m 1f Novice Stakes at Redcar in October by 3 lengths, having been a 5 & 1/4 length 3rd to Silver Knott in the Group 3 7f Solero Stakes at Sandown. Big run needed if to take up the entry at Epsom… 8TH

EACH WAY – Old Smoke – Caravaggio X Burke’s Rock gelding.
1 win & 3 places from 4 starts, reading 3/2/2/1, with all runs in Class 5 company & the latter 2 runs on soft turf & over 1m. His win was last time out at Thirsk, when beating Abu Royal by a head, with the front 2 4 & 1/2 lengths clear of the field & Abu Royal, winning on his next run.
Big fields no issue as been running in fields of 8, 10 & 11… 6TH

Thanks for popping by folks, we really appreciate it. Blog will be updated tomorrow evening..

All the Best – The AOLR Team

Watty Spots -Double Bubble

Neil Watson – aka @WattyRacing – Had a cracking couple of days on the race course, visiting Chester & his regular meeting at Haydock. Here he is with a review of both meetings & another Watty Spots…

Thursday saw the first of two trips to the races in what was a pulsating week of music and sport in Cheshire and Merseyside.

The whole week saw Liverpool engulfed in Eurovision Song Contest heaven as the city played host to the famous event on behalf of Ukraine and on the racing front Chester’s May Meeting was the main event for the equine athletes and this was complemented on Saturday with Haydock’s Swinton Hurdle Day.

This is the track’s flagship meeting of the year with a good mix of races from the traditional curtain raiser on Wednesday, the Lily Agnes Stakes for the 2yo to the feature race on Friday, the Chester Cup, a 2m 2f staying test which sees the field pass the winning line at total of three times.

For your intrepid reporter here though it was the Thursday which I attended with a pretty decent seven race card. It began with rainy conditions although the rain did stop after the first race and the heavens threatened to open up again with grey clouds forming over the course but thankfully, they just teased and stayed shut.

On the racing front the feature race of the afternoon, the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes over 1m5f went to last years winner Hamish under Tom Marquand for William Haggas as he repeated his win from last year, this 7yo takes his races lightly now and will probably not be seen for a bit but he is a real fans favourite.

Derby clues were on offer in the Listed Dee Stakes over 1m2f and it was a case of father showing son whose the boss as Aidan O’Brien celebrated another Roodee success with San Antonio taking his first step up into pattern races in his stride, he holds entries in the Derby, Irish Derby and at Royal Ascot and could show up in any of them, Alder back in second for Donnacha O’Brien stayed on well to keep the winner honest.

The rest of the card comprised mainly of handicaps and a 2yo maiden, one horse did catch the eye to keep in your trackers, more on that later.

Haydock Park

Saturday meant another visit to the local with what is technically the first big race of the new jumps season with the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock Park.

This meeting is a mixed card that comprised of two hurdle races, a bumper and five flat races, personally I think we should have more mixed cards, they are popular in Ireland and France, it’s a good way to have both codes together and makes it for a more fun occasion with the variety on offer, Haydock had races from 6f to 3m, so you can see the appeal a day like this can have.

Black Poppy

In the big one over the sticks, Kerry Lee saddled the winner with Black Poppy getting the better of Teddy Blue in a real grandstand finish, Teddy Blue looked to be all set to land the spoils but made a real hash of the last flight which gave Black Poppy the key to the door which was readily opened, he was following up a recent Cheltenham win which incidently was the same meeting that the opening winner of the staying hurdle, Willaston, also won at too.

He’ll probably go away for his summer holiday, hopefully not singing the Cliff Richard song as he does it, and will be aimed at some high quality races next season.

On the flat, Angel Bleu had a battle not just on the track under Hector Crouch but also in the stewards room to keep the Listed Spring Trophy over 7f, this 4yo has ability and this will have done his confidence the world of good, he’s definitely a 7f specialist and could come back here in June for the Group 3 John O’Gaunt Stakes.

Angel Bleu

Creative Force was another one to get some confidence in winning again as he hacked up in the 6f Conditions Stakes, having not won at all last year following a pulsating 3yo career, this 5yo still retains his ability, it will be of interest as to whether he stays sprinting or goes over further, he did have an entry in the Spring Trophy but ran in this race instead.

Creative Force

So now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, it’s the Wattyspots!

1 – The Camden Colt – 2yo Chestnut Colt – Trainer : Richard Hannon. (Chester)

Despite the rain leading to half the field being taken out of the 5f maiden for the 2yos we still had an informative enough race.

He looked well and behaved ok in the parade ring for his debut run here plus had the assistance of Ryan Moore in the saddle but he was green coming out of the gate and was bustled along early doors.

However, he was learning as the race progressed and was running on nicely towards the finish, he will have learnt plenty here, he holds an entry in the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury in July, i can see him going to that race and potentially running a big race.

2 – Conservationist – 3yo Bay Filly – Trainer : Clive Cox, (Haydock)

Now this was a far better run than when she ran here two weeks ago.

John Fahy set out to make all in the 3yo handicap over a mile and she was in the process of very nearly getting the price until the Ed Bethell colt, James McHenry, got the better of her in the last furlong.

She has definitely got a race in her and clearly loves Haydock, if Conservationist gets an entry and a nice weight in the Silver Bowl here in a fortnight i can see her having a go at it.

3 – Holguin, – 3yo Grey Colt – Trainer : Andrew Balding (Haydock)

Just touched off by a neck in the Spring Trophy this was his first time taking on his elders and he shaped up very well indeed as Angel Bleu showed him who was boss in that race.

He has some fair 2yo form and ran in some good races and looks to have trained on at three and getting some black type here will have enhanced him even more.

As for future targets he could go back to 3yo only races but has potential to make up into a 7f specialist, this a trip he looks to be at home with.

4 – Fairbanks – 3yo Bay Colt – Trainer : Andrew Balding (Haydock)

Although only a Class 5 handicap over 1m4f, this son of Nathaniel made a very impressive win on what was his handicap debut with some style.

In a race containing some fair types he shook off the challenge of runner up Lordship to win going away, running off 68 here.

He is easily ahead of his handicap mark and has more to offer and could even get further with 1m 6f probably looking in range as he progresses up the handicap.

Two very enjoyable days of racing at two local venues in the bag.

Chester Pictures – Below

Hamish, San Antonio & Neil Watson (Pictured Above)

As we get into the busy summer of the flat it’s always interesting to see the horse’s develop as they either go through the handicap ranks or look to gain some valuable black type.

Haydock in a fortnight over yet another bank holiday weekend will be the next visit where the Group 2 Temple Stakes over 5f will be the main feature.

Article & pictures – Neil Watson

AOLR Production – Published : May 2023

A little Euro Affair…

It’s not every day that you receive an email saying ‘ I’m putting up a Eurovision Selection’!
How could I refuse… I mean, @WattyRacing does Tweet a lot about Eurovision, I couldn’t deny His Voice & as we are covering the Racing on Saturday & Sunday at Longchamp in Paris, we thought we could do with a Boom Bang-a-bang…

Welcome to Arseonlineracing… The 100% Independent racing (& Eurovision) website with NO affiliate links….

I will let Neil take the to floor to allow him to Shine a Light on his Racing/Eurovision thoughts so he can help you with Making your Mind Up….

Haydock Park

Haydock 2.10, Pertemps Network Handicap, 3yo 0-90

Plenty of potential as you would expect in a race of this type and being a Class 3 race it’d be no surprise for some of the runners in it to come back here in a fortnight for the Silver Bowl.

One horse who caught my eye last season as a 2yo here at Haydock is the Ed Walker trained ARKENDALE who was second behind Salt Bay over course and distance, after that he was fourth at Pontefract in a Listed race which contained some nice types.

This sesonal has yielded one run in a 10f novice event at Newbury where he probably didn’t stay the extra trip but back down to a mile and on his handicap debut i can see him running a much better race at a course he could feel much more at home at.

Haydock 3.15 , Pertemps Network Swinton Handicap Hurdle, 4yo+, 2m

A typically competitive renewal of this popular handicap with lots of good horses lining up, sadly from a purist point of view it would have been very interesting to have seen if Constitution Hill could have shouldered top weight in a race like this in the same way that Trushan did in last years Northumberland Plate on the flat, it’s one of those things we will never know.

Selection wise I’m going for PARAMOUNT in the colours of ITV’s Alice Plunkett who comes here in decent form having picked up wins at Hereford, Doncaster and Fakenham, he ran at the Grand National meeting last month and finished down the field but Alice’s horses tend to do well in this neck of the woods for her trainer Charlie Longsdon.

He carries 11st1lb and will give a good account of himself here, he has ran at Haydock before in his bumper days plus his Hereford win was in a big field and the slightly faster surface should play to his strengths, i think he’s a player here.

Now Neil will take you through the BIG one, so no Running Scared, Believe he has The Voice for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids & he can land the Fairytale…
Remember, all answers will by Satellite!

Liverpool, 8pm, Eurovision Song Contest

Twenty six countries go to post in what i think will be the most bet on Eurovision to date as the city of Liverpool hosts the event on behalf of Ukraine who won last year but sadly due to the current situation can’t host it themselves.

Friday night is the jury final where the songs are voted for by music professionals then these are added to the phone votes from Europe and around the world when voting ends after the main show tonight.

Just like in racing a good draw is vital.

Odds on favourites Sweden go in 9th place, the position that the late Sir Terry Wogan said that you shouldn’t have a drink until, Loreen represents them, she won with the song “Euphoria” in 2012 and while her song  for this year “Tattoo” is ok it just doesn’t quite have the oomph as her winning one from eleven years ago.

Three songs worth investing in for myself are FINLAND who go in 13th, they are a real fans favourite but might have to rely on television voters which will definitely be plenty of, ISRAEL go in 23rd, i liked their song on Tuesday night, it’ll rouse anyone whose fallen asleep or by the wayside.

Also one song that could trump the lot of them is CROATIA with the song Mama ŠČ! by Let 3, it’s best to describe this one by my original thought was it’s an amalgam of Monty Python meets The Village People.

Betting wise some firms will do the first five so it can be a good thing to bet on especially with betting inrunning or should that be insinging?

Anyway, it’ll be a great four hours so hopefully one of those will come home in first place.

Rich – Paris Longchamp : Heavy

French Guineas day at Longchamp, will there be Euphoria or Only Teardrops after this blog?

2.50 Poule d’Essai des Poulains – Group 1- 3yo Colts Only – 1m…

American Flag – Wootton Bassett X Tre Americanqueen colt
3 wins from 4 starts, with all 3 wins on heavy & a C&D winner.
2nd on debut to Valimi at Deauville over 1m before winning on his 2nd start at Saint-Cloud over 1m on heavy ground. Made season return after 129 days off on March 18th in the Omnium II Listed stakes over 1m beating Kendly by 3 lengths before making it 3 wins on the trot in the 1m Group 3 Prix de Fontainebleau by 2 & 1/2 lengths over C&D on April 16th. all 3 wins on heavy ground…

The DANGERS could come from Hans Anderson, the son of Frankel was the winner of the Leopardstown Group 3 2000 Guineas Trial Stakes by 2 & 1/2 lengths, while Valimi, who beat American Flag on debut, won on season return over C&D on April 20th & Kendly, will be looking to reverse the form from April 16th & is 2 wins from 3 starts in 2023…

3.30 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (Fillies’) – Group 1 – 3yo Only – 1m….

Blue Rose Cen – Churchill X Queen Blossom filly.
Winner of the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac last October over C&D. The filly is 3 from 3 over C&D, having already won the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte by 1 & 1/2 lengths from Lindy on seasonal return ( April 16th) & the Group 3 Prix d’Aumale in September. Has 5 wins & 1 place from 7 career starts..

The DANGERS come from Never Ending Story, who was a 5 length 3rd to Blue Rose Cen in October & won the Group 3 1000 Guineas Trail Stakes at Leopardstown over 7f on heavy ground on April 2nd, while Lindy, will be looking to try & over turn the form from April 16th, when 2nd to BRC over C&D….

4.10 Prix Saint- Alary – Fillies’ Group 1 – 3yo Only – 1m 2f...

Heartache Tonight – Recorder X Salvation filly.
A 2 & 1/2 length winner over 1m 1f in a maiden at this course last October on heavy ground before having 180 days off & returning in the 1m 2f 96yd Group 3 Cleopatre Stakes at Saint-Cloud, when a 1 & 1/4 length 3rd to Crown Princesse, who was having her 3rd run of 2023…

The likely DANGERS are going to come from Crown Princesse, who is 2 wins from 3 runs this year & beat Heartache Tonight & Elusive Princess, who will also be looking to over turn the form when 2nd LTO in the same race. Another one to Watch is Jannah Rose, who is 2 wins from 2 starts & landed the 1m 1f Group 3 Prix Vanteaux at this course from Sea the Lady by 1 & 3/4 lengths…

Thanks for popping by, we really appreciate it, Let’s hope it’s more Waterloo than What’s Another Year! Wishing everyone a safe weekend & enjoy whatever your doing…

Have you noticed the Eurovision winning songs in this blog?? 12!!

All the Best – AOLR Team

Newmarket’s Guineas Weekender

Friday to Sunday, the only place to be is Newmarket ( Unless your invited to the Coronation on Saturday). The Guineas weekend is upon us, plenty of Group action.
Will it be Aidan O’Brien, Charlie Appleby or someone else taking home the Guineas trophy?
A fairy tail final Guineas for Frankie?

Welcome to AOLR. The 100% Independent racing website with NO affiliate links…

Another rolling blog for this, Friday with Jamie & Rich, Saturday & Sunday, we are joined by AOB Fan site’s Paul along with Neil Watson…

Friday –

Jamie –

2:25 – King Charles II Stakes (Listed)

Selection: Majestic Pride

8 runners go to post for a race named in honor of the previous Monarch who goes by the name of Charles. Whilst I doubt that King Charles III will be tuning in to ITV4 as he prepares for Coronation day tomorrow, another ruler from the Middle East will be watching with interest. Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin empire could have another smart Colt on their hands in the shape of Majestic Pride. This son of Shamardal made it 2/3 with a game display to win a conditions race over C&D at the Craven meeting, hitting the front a furlong or so out; he didn’t do a whole lot in front but held off Holguin nicely. Majestic Pride previously opened his account at the second time of asking at Chelmsford late last year having been second over today’s C&D on debut. My selection is a very nicely bred Colt being out of Gonbarda who is the dam of 5X G1 winner Farrh. The Appleby team haven’t quite hit top gear this season but Majestic Pride has experience on this undulating track and appears to have a good attitude in the heat of battle. He has a good chance if building on his success here a few weeks ago. Quicker ground does pose a question but most Shamardal’s do seem to like a firmer surface.

Cork –

5:15 – Goffs Irish EBF Polonia Stakes (Listed)

Selection: Fix You 

This is an ultra competitive renewal of this 5F Listed heat for 3yo Fillies with 14 horses vying for some valuable black type. Fix You is taking a fair leap from Class 4 to Listed level but she is going the right way judging by the manner of her recent Nottingham success. Having chased the leaders Fix You moved up through the gears and stayed on well to win impressively by three and a half lengths over today’s 5F trip. Fix You looked a considerably good 2yo when seen winning first time up at Thirsk by a wide margin in April 2022, however injury ruled her out of the rest of 2022. The Daughter of Night Of Thunder, owned by the powerful Amo Racing team reappeared at Kempton at the beginning of last month. It was certainly a very encouraging run as she was just touched off by a half length having led well inside the furlong. Perhaps crucially Fix You handles soft ground and connections will be hoping that Cork gets the forecast rain as Thursday night turns into the early hours of Friday. She has a bit to find on ratings but at 14/1 I think she is a cracking each way bet as she is less exposed than most of the Fillies lining up against her. Seamie Heffernan is an eye-catching booking too. 
WINNER 10/3 sp

*Each way advised* 

Rich –


1.15 Newmarket Listed Stakes – Class 1 – 3yo Only – 1m 2f
Castle Way – Almanzor X Beach Frolic 3yo colt.

C&D Winner on his final start of 2021, when landing a Class 2 Handicap by 3 lengths from One World, from an opening mark of 89.
A runner up on race course debut here over 1m in a Class 4 maiden in August before winning at Haydock on 2nd start in a Class 4 1m Novice Stakes on September 1st by 2 lengths before finishing 4th of 5 in a 1m 113yd Epsom Class2 Conditions Stakes on September 25th….
WINNER 7/1 sp

On day One, we finished with 2 winners at 7/1 & 10/3 sp

Saturday –

Jamie –

4:00 – Howden Palace House Stakes (G2)

Selection: Twilight Calls 

A hot renewal as some of the finest sprinters in the land clash with a couple of up and coming youngsters, namely Mannacan and Live In The Dream. Despite not having graced a racecourse since Royal Ascot last year I fancy Twilight Calls to get the job done today. For a 5YO Henry Candy’s charge is still relatively lightly raced having raced a dozen times to date and he brings in arguably the strongest piece of form. That is because he ran a blinder in last year’s King Stand Stakes, finishing second to the mighty Aussie Nature Strip. He may have benefitted from being held up off such a frantic gallop but I was still impressed with how he came home. Before that Twilight Calls was second to King’s Lynn in the Temple Stakes, fifth in last year’s Palace House and won over 5F at the Craven meeting. Crucially he has a good record when fresh, winning twice off a long layoff. If he is ready to roll then I think he will take all the beating. He just needs a bit of luck in running under Ryan Moore as he is likely to be held up. The quicker the ground the better… UNPLACED

4:40 – Qipco 2000 Guineas (G1)

Selection: Royal Scotsman 

Well, here we go then! The first classic of the 2023 British flat season. I think this could be a very good bunch of 3yo milers so I am looking forward to watching how the race unfolds. I am going to stay loyal to Royal Scotsman, who I put up as my horse to follow for the flat season. He faces a stiff task today against the Ballydoyle pair of Auguste Rodin & Little Big Bear, his Dewhurst conqueror Chaldean and the promising Sakheer. Royal Scotsman certainly brings in some of the best 2yo form amongst the 14 runners. He was runner up in the Dewhurst, if the race required another 4 or 5 strides he may even have got up to beat Chaldean as he was flying home. Earlier in the campaign he had won the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood without really looking like getting beat. Even his third in the Coventry Stakes at the Royal meeting reads very well, in fourth two lengths back was the outstanding 2yo of last season Blackbeard. So, Royal Scotsman definitely has the form in the book and stepping up to a mile, a strongly run mile on a course he has proven he can handle is a big plus. He will also relish the quick ground and the team around are confident. I like him a lot. Another I’d like to mention is Noble Style who I think could be massively overpriced at 20/1. He looked a quality horse when winning the Gimcrack last time out and looks like the each way value to me. 3rd PLACE

Neil –

4.00, Howden Palace House Stakes, Group 3, 5f, 3yo+

A first chance of the season to see the top class horses who ply their trade over the minimum trip and quite a few of these will be aimed at the main races over 5f and this is a good renewal to kick start the speedsters for 2023.

One horse who looks very likely to go well here is the Henry Candy trained TWIGHLIGHT CALLS.

He goes well fresh and this 5yo has often showed his best form in the early part of the season.

Last year he was fifth in this contest but did win a handicap first time out over course and distance at the Craven Meeting before being beaten a head by King’s Lynn in the Temple Stakes at Haydock, King’s Lynn being what i believe could have been The Queen’s last ever Group winner as an owner.

With Ryan Moore jocked up you know this horse should be plenty forward enough to start his season, hopefully, on a winning note. UNPLACED

4.40, QIPCO 2000 Guineas Stakes, Group 1, 1m , 3yo

For myself this looks a pretty wide open running of the opening classic of the season.

Favourite, Auguste Rodin, signed off for the season by winning the Futurity at Doncaster and that was on heavy ground, personally i think at his current skinny price he’s worth taking on and as always i like to look at finding some eachway value.

With that in mind i am drawn to the Charlie Appleby trained runner, NOBLE STYLE.

After winning the Gimcrack at York last season he was put away and didn’t see the course again, the jury is certainly out as to wether or not he will stay a mile hence why he holds a Commonwealth Cup entry at the Royal meeting in June.

Being a son of Kingman I think he should get the extra couple of furlongs and can give a good account of himself, round about 20s at time of writing i think he’s a very good price for a Group 1 winner as a 2yo. UNPLACED

Rich –

2.15 – Ellen Chaloner Stakes – Fillies & Mares’ Listed – 3yo+ – 6f….
Azure Blue – El Kabeir X Sea of Dreams 4yo filly

2 from 2 over C&D & has also won on the July Course, so 3 from 4 at Newmarket.
Rose through the handicap ranks, winning a pair of Class 4 Handicap in June & July before landing a Class 2 Handicap over C&D from a mark of 89 in September. Last seen on October 8th 2022 winning the C&D Boadicea Listed Stakes by 1 & 1/2 lengths from Makarova
WINNER 7/2sp

4.40 – 2000 Guineas – Colts only – Group 1 – 3yo Only – 1m…

Silver Knott – Lope De Vega X God Given colt.
Last seen in November at Keeneland finishing a short head 2nd to Victoria Road in the Grade 1 Breeders cup Juvenile Mile having landed the Group 3 1m Autumn Stakes over C&D in October. He was well beaten by Childean in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster over 7f before the step up in trip. He has also won the 7f Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown. Last years winner, Coroebus also won the Autumn Stakes! – Each WayUNPLACED

DANGER – Auguste Rodin – Deep Impact X Rhododendron colt
Red hot favourite for the race, more so after his trainer said he COULD win the Triple Crown. Won on his 2nd start at Naas over 7f in July before having a 70 day break. Returned in September & stepped up in trip to 1m, he duly landed the Group 2 Champion Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown before landing the Futurity Stakes at Doncaster when lasts seen back in October by 3 & 1/2 lengths…

Paul –

AOBFS Ballydoyle 2000 Guineas Preview
NAME— Auguste Rodin
LINEAGE— Deep Impact x Rhododendron
PEDIGREE— Dam 3 time Group 1 winner including the Prix de l’Opéra. Sire 9 Times Champion sire in
Japan. Sire of more than 40 Individual Group 1 Winners.
BROTHERS & SISTERS— Dams first foal.
RACE COULOURS— Michael Tabor
RACE CAREER— 4 Starts 3 Wins 1 Place £200,703 in Career Earnings
MAJOR RACE WINS— Champions Juvenile Stakes Group 2, Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes Group 1
AOBFS THOUGHTS— Auguste Rodin was always held in high regard by team Ballydoyle but the vibes around him since he turned 3 have been amazingly strong Aidan & his team have been especially buoyant in the recent build up to the first classic of the season. He began his career in a seven furlong maiden at the Curragh on June 1st. He was soundly beaten by Crypto Force who went on to win the Beresford Stakes Group 2. Auguste Rodin was sent to Naas a month later and ran out a comfortable winner of the 7 furlong maiden beating Shadowed who has already visited the winners enclosure twice this season. Auguste Rodin then went on to be victorious in the Champions Juvenile Stakes Group 2 & Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes Group 1.
I remember thinking at the end of the season he was a classy juvenile but will be an even better 3 year old. The son of Deep Impact bids to follow in the footsteps of former Ballydoyle residents King of Kings (1998), Rock of Gibraltar (2002), Footstepsinthesand (2005), George Washington (2006),Henrythenavigator (2008), Camelot (2012) Gleneagles (2015), Churchill (2017), Saxon Warrior (2018), & Magna Grecia (2019) to capture the 2000 Guineas. This year particularly looks a wide open event. I have somewhat been shot down on social media for even mentioning the triple crown but it really is ok to dream is that not what racing is all about.

I think that Auguste Rodin is the first genuine triple crown contender since Camelot in 2012 who came so so close to achieving immortality. In terms of a triple crown bid this will be by far I would imagine the toughest of the 3 legs that he faces it is a formidable task but I fully believe he can do it to be honest I could not be more confident of him winning
on Saturday I honestly believe he can keep the dream alive and turn out to be a very very special horse. When it comes to the Guineas I nailed my colours to the Auguste Rodin mast along time ago. COME ON AR.

NAME— Little Big Bear
LINEAGE— No Nay Never x Adventure Seeker
PEDIGREE— Dam French based Listed winning Daughter of Bering. Sire Champion First Season Sire in 2018 Champion Second Season Sire 2019.
BROTHERS & SISTERS— Half Brother to multiple race winners Vin Rouge, American Graffiti, & Soyounique
RACE COULOURS— Derrick Smith
RACE CAREER— 5 Starts 4 Wins 1 Place £246,015 in Career Earning
MAJOR RACE WINS— Windsor Castle Listed Stakes, Anglesey Stakes Group 3, Phoenix Stakes Group 1

AOBFS THOUGHTS— Little Big Bear’s juvenile career could not have gone much better. The team were stunned when he was defeated on the 10th of April in a Curragh maiden when narrowly defeated by Tough Talk who went on to chase home Blackbeard in the Marble Hill Stakes Group 3. Little Big Bear never looked back after his debut defeat he put together an excellent run of performances culminating in his glittering Phoenix Stakes Group 1 victory which was an awesome sight to behold. I remember after that day I thought this fella looks like a class sprinter in the making potentially the best since Caravaggio.
My thoughts on his chances are clear firstly there has to be question marks over his stamina secondly the ground in Europe this season has been terrible we have had many meetings hosted on heavy ground.
Newmarket have watered the track and if there is any rain due at headquarters in the lead up to the Guineas it could quickly go from good to firm to a more testing going. Another concern is that he has always run close to the pace in his juvenile races he has ran very prominently in fact he made all in the Phoenix. Are they going to do the same on Saturday or will he be ridden to get the trip which would be new tactics. It will be a very tough task for him if he is at the front at the start or just off the pace will he have enough petrol in the tank to fight off a fast finishing Auguste Rodin.
I would be honestly delighted to see him win but with so many question marks I think the stablemate on this occasion has the superior credentials. I think he will be a big player in this seasons Commonwealth Cup.
AOBFS Ballydoyle 2000 Guineas Advice – 5 PTS win win Auguste Roding 13/8 – 1 POINT e/w Royal Scotsman 8/1 (Rock solid horse with solid form and cant see him out of the top 4 Most bookies are offering 4 places in the race)

Sunday –

Jamie –

3:00 – Howden Dahlia Stakes (G2)

Selection: Life In Motion

This looks to be an open edition of this Fillies & Mares Group 2 over 1m 1f. Andre Fabre has raided this contest twice recently in 2016 & 2019 and he has a good chance to make it a hat trick with Life In Motion. This 4yo Filly is searching for a fourth win in a row. It was an ideal seasonal reappearance for the daughter of Sea The Stars at Longchamp where she bravely rallied to get back to win by a head in a listed heat. Life In Motion has won most of her races by a short distance and possesses a terrific never say die attitude. Andre Fabre doesn’t send one over just for the air miles and with the rain softened ground ideal I think this Filly has a great shout. 3RD

Rich –

2.25 Pretty Polly Fillies’ Listed Stakes – Class 1 – 3yo Only – 1m 2f
Trust the Stars – Sea the Stars X Son Macia 3yo filly

A 1/2 length winner on race course debut in September 2022 at this course in a 13 runner 1m Class 4 Fillies’ Novice Stakes. Season return – EACH WAY – 3RD

3.00 Dahlia Stakes ( Fillies’ & Mares’) Group 1 – Class 1 – 4yo Only – 1m 1f…
Life in Motion – Sea the Stars X Wavering 4yo filly

French raider, who has won 4 of her last 6 starts & has won her last 3 starts, 2 over 1m 1f.
Runner up to Purplepay in the Chantilly Prix De Sandringham over 1m Listed stakes, before winning 2 Listed stakes at Saint-Cloud in September & Chantilly in October. Landed a 3rd Listed Stakes on season return at Longchamp on soft ground by a head from Yoozuna on April 20th…. 3RD

3.40 1000 Guineas Fillies’ Stakes – Group 1 – 3yo Only – 1m…
Mammas Girl – Havana Grey X Mamma Morton 3yo filly.

Two wins at this course, both over 7f. Landed a Fillies’ Class 4 Novice Stakes (Div 2) by 2 lengths in October before being put away for the winter.
Returned on April 19th in the Nell Gwyn Fillies’ Group 3 beating Fairy Cross by 2 & 3/4 lengths – EACH WAY – UNPLACED


Meditate – The Breeders Cup Grade 1 Fillies’ Juvenile 1m Champion in November at Keeneland, having stepped up from finishing a 3/4’s of a length runner up to Lezoo in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes…

Tahiyra – Beat Meditate by 2 & 1/2 lengths in the Group 1 7f Moyglare Stud Fillies’ Stakes in September…

Caernafon – Won the C&D Montrose Fillies’ Listed Stakes in October by 1/2 a length. Could out run odds…

Paul –

AOBFS Ballydoyle 1000 Guineas Preview
NAME— Meditate
LINEAGE— No Nay Never x Pembina
PEDIGREE— Dam race winning Daughter of Dalakhani. Sire has so far produced 7 Group 1 winner including Alcohol Free, Meditate, Little Big Bear, Blackbeard, Brooke, Madame Pommery, & Ten Sovereigns
BROTHERS & SISTERS— Half Sister to race winner Mythological
RACE COULOURS— Michael Tabor
RACE CAREER— 7 Starts 5 Wins 2 Places £673,075 in Career Earnings
MAJOR RACE WINS— Fillies Sprint Stakes Group 3, Albany Stakes Group 3, Debutante Stakes Group 2, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf Grade 1
AOBFS THOUGHTS— Aidan has won the 1,000 Guineas 7 times – Virginia Waters (2005), Homecoming Queen (2012) Minding (2016), Winter (2017), Hermosa (2019), Love (2020), & Mother Earth (2021) and this year Meditate is due to be his only Representative the last time Aidan went in with one runner it was Love in 2020 who went on to win the race.
As a juvenile Meitate was a little warrior she danced every dance. She gave us a wonderful moment when bringing home the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Meditate only tasted defeat twice in 2022. She was narrowly defeated in the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes G1 by Lezoo.
Her first defeat came in the Moyglare Stud Stakes G1 when she was soundly put away by the Dermot Weld filly Tahiyra who looks like a filly with enormous potential. There is no doubt
that Tahiyra is the horse to beat in the race. Meditate has the credentials to give the daughter of Siyouni most to think about. I think Meditate has a decent chance of winning but my head is overruling my heart and I think Tahiyra will take allot of stopping.

AOBFS Ballydoyle 1000 Guineas Advice – 4 PTS win Tahiyra 5/2 – 1 POINT Tahiyra/Meditate Reverse Forecast.

Good luck if you are having a punt and thanks to the lads for hosting this.

Thanks for popping by & for the support, we really appreciate it.

All the Best – The AOLR Team

Watty’s Flat Spots – Haydock

With the National Hunt season over for another year, Neil Watson aka Watty Racing trains his eye to the Flat racing. with the first instalment of his Flat Spots…

Flat racing resumed in the north west on Saturday as Haydock held the now traditional end of April opener over the bank holiday weekend with a seven race card on ground that was a bit on the fast side being Good and Good to Firm in places.

Rainbow Fire

With no pattern races on this particular card the feature race was the Class 2 7f handicap which was an open handicap and found itself going Newmarket bound to the Marco Botti stable as Rainbow Fire( Pictured above ) in the Middleham Park colours came rattling down the outside under Neil Callan.
Quite lightly raced for a 5yo, this was his third career win on what was only his seventh career start, all those wins have been over 7f and it’s possible he might come back here in a fortnight for the Spring Trophy over course and distance which is something previous winners of this race have done before.

Local winners are always celebrated here and Garstang based trainer, Stella Barclay, had good reason to celebrate as her Papa Cocktail( Pictured blow) in the colours of former northern jockey, Tony Culhane and wife Bev, followed up a recent Southwell success in the big field 6f handicap, plenty cheers were heard around the winners enclosure as were a good few waves of winning betting slips.

Papa Cocktail

The two 3yo novice events produced a couple of good sorts who you will find about quite soon.

Now it’s time to take a look at the three to take out from Saturday’s meeting.


1 – Gregory – 3yo bay colt – Trainer : John and Thady Gosden.

Carrying the famous pink and white of the Normandie Stud, this young horse was making his debut here and looked a fine imposing type in the paddock and although not being the quickest out of the gate he knuckled down when asked by Robert Havlin to land the 1m 4f Novice Stakes in impressive style.

By Golden Horn he definitely has a nice future ahead of him, naturally it’s hard to gauge where his level will lie but he should make into a useful middle distance type and potentially over staying trips in time.

2 – Stormy Sea – 3yo bay filly – Trainer : Sir Michael Stoute.

In the race won by last years French Oaks winner, Nashwa, all eyes would have been drawn to whoever landed the 1m Novice Stakes for 3yo fillies.

This year it went to Stormy Sea who ran away readily to break her duck at the second time of asking.

Again like the horse above in the list, the world is her oyster but she shaped well and should get some black type at some point, it’d probably be a surprise if she doesn’t.

Stormy Sea

3 – Lmay – 3yo bay filly – Trainer : John and Thady Gosden.

Making her debut, this daughter of Frankel showed a bit of greenness but things began to click getting to the business end as she chased home Stormy Sea.

She will most definitely have learnt plenty from this and should find no trouble in shaking off her maiden tag before too long.

So the flat is well and truly underway, my next outing will be two days merged into one article as I shall be making a return to Chester for what will be my first ever visit to the May meeting for the Ormonde Stakes and two days later for what is now technically the first big race of the new jumps season with the Swinton Hurdle.

Till then, Goodbye.  

Article & pictures – Neil Watson

AOLR Publication – Published : May 2023

Bank Holiday Weekend Treats(Updated)

National Hunt Finale at Sandown on Saturday, along with the last day of the Punchestown NH Festival & 4 flat racing cards in the UK. Sunday has a the first Group 1 race in France, Prix Ganay & on May Day, there is a nice card at the Curragh in Ireland!
Not to mention that next Weekend is the King’s Coronation, but more importantly it’s Guineas Weekend at Newmarket…..

Welcome to Arseonlineracing. The 100% independent racing website & podcast with NO affiliate links…

Jamie has you covered on Saturday with Rich covering the Longchamp on Sunday, Monday is a long way off & undecided, this will be a rolling blog like the Craven blog…

Updated at the bottom….

Jamie –

Sandown –

1:40 – Celebration Chase (G1) 

Selection: Greanateen 

A small but select field of 5 line up for the final top level contest of the British jumps season. Greanateen loves it here at Sandown and I don’t see why he can’t make it a hat trick of victories in this race. Paul Nicholls’ 9YO opened up his season by winning the G2 Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter. That was followed a month later by a solid second to Edwardstone over C&D in the Tingle Creek. It was a below par performance at Newbury when he was third of four in the Game Spirit Chase, perhaps he wasn’t fully wound up with spring targets in mind. A bad mistake four out cost him any chance in the Champion Chase and he wasn’t given an overly hard race but still got back up for third. The better ground today will help Greanateen and he looks the value against the favourite, Jonbon. I can understand why the novice is favourite but he has already run at Cheltenham and Aintree. I feel it’s a stiff task for him to beat a fresher rival on a track he likes. Time will tell us the answers but I am sticking with Greanateen today. On ratings he is 9lbs clear running off level weights today…

Punchestown –

5:30 – Fitzwilliam Sports Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) 

Selection: Itswhatunitesus

The final big handicap of what has been an excellent week of racing at Punchestown. There are plenty of each way alternatives in the 19 strong field and the one who catches my eye is Gordon Elliott’s Itswhatunitesus. This son of Walk In The Park is still unexposed having had just the six races so far and we still don’t really know how good he is. Itswhatunitesus arrives at Punchestown today off the back of a four month layoff, when he was last seen being virtually pulled up behind Facile Vega at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting. Perhaps the run came too soon (8 days) of a win at Punchestown in a Rated Novice Hurdle. He has also beaten Embassy Gardens in his maiden hurdle at Cork, I know the Mullins camp quite like Embassy Gardens. A mark of 132 could be seen as tough but I like the fact that he is coming here fresh compared to horses who have battling it out at Cheltenham, Fairyhouse and Cork in recent weeks. Any rain would be appreciated. At around 18 – 20/1 I think he could run into a place. The step up in trip could bring out more in this horse…

*Each way advised*

Rich –

Paris – Longchamp ( Very Soft )

1.33 De L’arve Listed Stakes – 3yo Only – 1m 4f….

Back to Black – Al Wukair X Lady Austronomer 3yo colt
7 career runs, 3 wins & 3 places. 5 runs on turf – 3 wins & 2 places.
Debut run back November in a Chantilly 1m 1f 97yd Maiden was nothing spectacular, the colt finished 5th of 12 runners. Returned in January, running twice in the month ( 22nd & 30th), finishing 2nd on return before winning a 1m 2f Cagnes Sur-Mur by 1/2 a length on soft/heavy ground. Has since run 4 times since, winning twice. Runner up to Harry Way in a 1m 2f 96yds in a Listed Stakes at Saint-Cloud on Heavy ground on March 18th by 3/4’s of a length. His last run was at Lyon-Parilly over 1m 1f, winning by 3/4’s of a length. Ground NO issue…

DANGER – Winter Pudding – Seahenge X Darling Traou 3yo colt.
3 career starts – 1 win & 1 place. Winner on his 2nd start in a 1m 1f 97yd Maiden at Chantilly on December 13th, having finished 4th of 12 on debut at the same course. Finished 3rd to Harry Way in the same race as Back to Black & not raced since. Capable to over turning the form….

4.35 Prix Barberville – Group 3 – 4yo+ – 1m 7f 90yds….

The Good Man – Manduro X So Good 6yo Horse.
Only won race in 2022 & this was it, beating Bubble Smart by 3/4’s of a length. Consistent Group 2/3 level performer, with 1 win & 4 places from 10 runs at this level. Won on season return at Saint-Cloud in the 1m 4f de La Porte De Madrid Listed Stakes by a neck on March 23rd…

Behtar – Kittens Joy X Behnasa 4yo colt.
3 turf runs with 1 win & 2 places along with 3 All Weather runs, 1 win & 2 places. 3rd in the Deauville(AW) Listed 1m 4f 94yd contest in December 2022. His last run was at Chantilly over 1m 5f 92yds on March 4th, his season return, when finishing a head 2nd to Sober.
Sober – Camelot X Bermasea 4yo gelding.
Placed in 4 starts last year, runner up x 3 & a 3rd place, won on season return beating Behtar…

2.50 Prix Ganay – Group 1 – 4yo+ – 1m 2f 96yds…

Iresine – Manduro X Iranga 6yo gelding.
16 Starts- 11 wins – 2 places. This is the 4th start of 2023 for the 2022 Prix Royal-Oak winner, who beat Search for a Song by 3 lengths last October. Has won 4 of his 5 starts in 2022 & his only defeat was to Botanik in the Group 3 1m 4f 94yd Prix De Reux. Made seasonal return on April 9th in the Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt, finishing 3/4’s of a length behind winner, Simca Mille….

DANGERS – Yes there are a few!
Simca Mille, a 4yo colt, who was runner up in the Grand Prix de Paris last July & has won the Group 2 Prix Niel Stakes in September. Made winning return(See Above)

Vadeni, who is the current favourite, another 4yo colt, who won the Eclipse at Sandown & the Prix Du Jockey Club last year & was last seen finishing 2nd to Alpinesta in the Arc back in October….

Bay Bridge, a 5yo colt & the only UK horse entered in the race. He finished 4 lengths behind Vadeni in the Eclispe & was last seen beating Adayar by 1/2 a length in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Ascot in October. Ground could be an issue.

Place Du Carrousel, a 4yo filly. The only filly in the race & gets weight from the rest of the field. She was a runner up to Above the Curve by 1 length in the Group 1 Prix Alary (Fillies’) back in May. Finished 8 & 1/4 lengths behind Nashwa in the Prox Diane, Group 1 before reversing the form in the Group 1 Prix l’Opera in October by 3/4’s of a length…

MONDAY – Saint-Cloud (Heavy) & Curragh ( Soft to Yielding)


1.33 Prix Greffulhe Stakes – Listed – 3yo Only – 1m 2f 96yds…

Harry Way – Galiway X Miss Vinga 3yo gelding.
6 turf runs with 3 wins & 3 places. Won twice as a 2yo in 2022.
Returned on February 2nd in a Cagnes-sur-Mer on the All Weather, finishing 2nd by a head before landing a C&D Listed Stakes on March 18th by 1 length from Winter Pudding, who won De L’arve Listed Stakes yesterday at Longchamp.
His last run was on April 16th in the Longchamp Group 3 Prix Noailles over 1m 2f 96yds, where the gelding finished a short head 2nd to Flight Leader.

DANGER – Fortune – De Treville X February Sun 4yo Colt.
Unbeaten in 2 starts as a 2yo, winning on debut at Longchamp(Heavy) last October & won again in November on the All Weather at Chantilly. Made seasonal return on April 16th in the same race as Harry Way (Above) finishing 3rd by 1/2 length to Flight Leader.
Capable of over turning the form with Harry Way

2.48 Prix Du Muguet – Group 2 – 4yo+ – 1m…

Erevann – Dubawi X Ervedya 4yo colt.
Won 4 of 5 starts in 2022 & his only defeat was to Inspiral in the Prix Du Harras in August at Deauville, having won the Group 3 1m Prix Paul de Moussac from Tribalist at Chantilly. He was last seen winning the 1m Group 2 Prix Daniel Wildenstein at Longchamp on October 1st from The Revenant by 1 & 1/2 lengths.

Tribalist – Farhh X Fair Daughter 4yo colt.
Has only finished outside the top 3 in any field once in 8 runs last season, which was in the 7f Group 1 Prix Jean Prat in July. His form in 2022 read 2/1/2/3/2/3/2 mainly running at Group 3 level. He beat The Revenant on season return over C&D by 1 & 1/4 lengths on April 1st.

The Revenant – Dubawi X Hazel Lavery 8yo gelding.
Eldest in the field & a former Group 1 winner. Ultra consistent group level runner, who is probably passed his prime but still capable of winning a race like this. Has 6 wins from 8 C&D runs. Runner up to Tribalist last time out…

Curragh –

1.20 Maiden – 2yo Only – 6f…

Neo Smart – Belardo X Neophila Filly.
Beaten a neck on race course debut over 5f at this course, on heavy ground last month (April 16th) by Porta Fortuna, the filly dead heated with Ellie More & the front 3 were over 3 lengths clear of 4th place…
DANGER – Do it with Style – Ten Sovereigns X Sodashy filly.
Makes race course debut, cost 235,000 Euros as a yearling. Half sister to Talk or Listen

4.10 Mooresbrige Stakes – Group 2 – 4yo Only – 1m 2f…

Luxembourg – Camelot X Attire 4yo colt.
Season return for the 2022 Irish Champion Stakes winner. Unbeaten as a 2yo, winning the the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Stakes at Doncaster on his final 2yo start.
Finished 3rd in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket last April to Coroebus by 2 & 1/4 lengths before missing a few months with a set back. He returned in August, winning the Royal Whip Stakes & ended 2022 finishing an unlucky 7th to Alpinesta in the Arc at Longchamp in October. Carries top weight with 9s 8Lb & is Top rated 123.
The ONE to beat…

DANGER – Above the Curve – American Pharoah X Fabulous 4yo filly.
1 of 3 females in the field, carrying 9s 2Lbs. The filly makes her seasonal return having been last seen finishing 15 lengths behind Tuesday in the Breeders Cup Fillies’ & Mares’ Turf 9&1/2F in November. A group 1 winner last year, the filly laned the Prix Alary (Fillies’) at Longchamp last May. Winner of 3 of her 6 starts in 2022…

Thanks for popping by, we really appreciate your support. We recently released the AOLR Flat Horses to Follow 2023, with many of our followers contributing a horse to follow, so do please check that out too..


All the Best – The AOLR Team

Wattys Aintree Rant

The man, the myth, the legend that is Neil Watson, aka WattyRacing on Twitter was at Aintree on Thursday, the opening day of the Grand National Festival.

Neil gives you his take on the Grand National & his 3 Watty Spots for your trackers…

Another season almost coming to a close as the three day Randox Grand National meeting has come and gone with three spectacular days of racing as ever at Aintree.

As usual I attended the Thursday and the primary piece of this column is a look back at the day and picking out three horses to note down for the future, Famous Clermont who won the Foxhunters is testimony to the fact that sometimes I can pick them out after his Haydock win back in February.

All that will come soon but like many other racing fans who were either on the course or tuned in via either the television or radio, I watched the race although this year it had a slightly different feeling resonating in me as the story of the race was told.

Now I make no bones about it, I love the Grand National, it’s the first race I was ever allowed to have a bet on and 2020 aside I’ve never missed it, the high majority I’ve watched at home apart from 2001 and 2019 when I was actually on course and 2011 when I was at Bangor-On-Dee and watched it from there, As a race it has the thrills and spills that you don’t get from any other horse race and I will always be in awe of it.

Saturday though there was an uneasy feeling, Some pink t-shirt wearing protestors who quite rightly should be allowed to protest had said that they wanted to stop the race from going ahead, fortunately though thanks to the Merseyside police and the locals who love this race too, they managed to keep a lid on it despite a few getting through and onto the course.

Sadly this led to a delay which in turn wound up a few horses who had to be taken back to the pre parade before coming back in then the jockeys getting the leg up, not having a parade, going straight to post as happened in 2021 before the tapes went up.

For myself I’ll admit the first circuit was a tough one to watch although I have watched it a few times since but first time round it wasn’t pleasant, Hill Sixteen sadly lost his life and his trainer, Sandy Thomson, put this down to the delay causing his horse to get wound up.

This along with a few other fallers didn’t make for easy viewing compared to that of a normal National, the fifteen minutes that preceded it didn’t help, I myself actually backed the winner, Corach Rambler,  but unlike in recent years particularly in 2013 when I had Auroras Encore at 66-1 I didn’t dance around the front room like a loony but had a more quiet celebration and kept the emotions down, it felt wrong to do so in the circumstances.

In the aftermath I didn’t want to write this immediately but wait until Sunday as usual, that way I can gather my thoughts and think about the race and what happened during it.

I don’t want to see immediate wholesale changes, but perhaps a couple more things could be done to help with the future of the race, the National course itself is only used five times a year and with one of those races being for amateurs it means outside of the big race, the professional jockeys only get three more chances to race over it as do the horses.

Maybe one suggestion could be to have another race over the fences at the October meeting?  Perhaps a 2m 5f or 3m Chase to let the horses have another opportunity to get used to the nature of this unique course, after all they aren’t the same as conventional steeplechase fences and potentially this could help horses get used to them?

The field size always draws attention, 40 runners is always a lot and perhaps now could be time to whittle it down to 35 for a couple of years to see if that makes any affect to it, to counter this you could move the race before the National, the Freebooter Chase onto the card earlier in the day and run it over the National fences utilising the same course and distance as the Becher Chase and act as a consolation race, maybe restrict it to amateur and conditional jockeys too so not to risk those riding in the big one?

If anything having a consolation race would also be a bonus for those who spend the day on the Embankment in the Steeplechase Enclosure and give them another chance to see horses jumping the fences up close.

Whatever happens though, the sport must not kowtow to those who don’t want to learn about racing, we know it is a sport full of risk, riders in the Isle Of Man TT will testify to that and more riders in that have been killed than horses have in the Grand National.

We know the race will come under attack as will all equestrian sports, now is the time for racing to unite as one and stand up to show that we are all in this together and to defend an industry which employs thousands of people and has a huge chain that links it all up, sometimes the infighting can be annoying but now we must call a truce and hold hands in battle.

Back to Thursday though and for myself this is the best day of the three days from a purists point of view with four Grade One’s in a row showcasing the finest that jump racing has to offer.

The afternoon was very much a case of ‘Henderson’s Half Hour’ as the great man had Shishkin and the legend that is Constitution Hill both wowing the crowd as they won the Aintree Bowl and Aintree Hurdle respectively. ( Both below)

Shishkin had a real battle on his hooves but he dug in where it mattered to overpower Ahoy Senor in a typical Aintree finish on the Mildmay course and while the race did have a slight edge to it taken away with the Bravemansgame situation he still had a high quality field to beat, he will add an extra bit of sparkle to the King George on Boxing Day.

As for Constitution Hill you can’t add to what has been said, he is a machine who treats the opposition with contempt and beats them like they aren’t even there, Nico De Boinville made all the running and he was never out of third gear, wether he goes chasing next season or stays over timber is Nicky Henderson’s choice but for now let’s just appreciate this wonderful horse.

The pair of them though were merely the warm up act for the proper big race of the day, the Foxhunters over 2m 5f on the Grand National course and for the first time in quite a while we had the Haydock and Aintree double finally done as Famous Clermont who won the Walrus at Haydock in February bounced back to form to land the spoils under Will Biddick for trainer Chris Barber. ( Below )

He was fount out by the extra distance at Cheltenham and only being an 8yo he could easily rack up a sequence in this race now unless connections have a bash under rules, he jumped superbly here and travelled on the bridle under a fine ride by his jockey.

Now though it’s time for the final time this jumps season, the Wattyspots.

1 – Straw Fan Jack – 8yo gelding – Trainer : Sheila Lewis.

In a tight looking Manifesto which only had two British trained horses in it, this lad was just over twelve lengths behind the impressive winner Banbridge.

His four wins have all come in the early part of the season so for me he could be one to see returning here in October for the Old Roan Chase, it’s a limited handicap and he would get a nice weight for sure which must be under consideration for his trainer.

2 – Zenta – 4yo filly – Trainer : Willie Mullins.

In what looked a fair running of the 4yo hurdle this filly gave the Triumph form a boost as she just got the better of the Gary Moore trained Bo Zenith in a real ding dong battle after the last.

She travelled well and hurdled nicely and with Honeysuckle off to the paddocks she could well be aimed at those nice mares races next season, this likeable type still needs a bit more experience and it’ll be a surprise if she heads to Punchestown but as for next season the world is definitely wide open for her.

3 – Dysart Enos – 5yo filly – Trainer : Fergal O’Brien.

A race which is never easy to solve, if anything finding the National winner is easier but the Grade 2 Nickel Coin NHF for the fillies and mares is often trickier than the Countdown Conundrum, quite a few who perhaps could have ran better didn’t but make no mistakes about the winner, she fully deserved it.

A runner up in an Irish point, Dysart Enos came here unbeaten in two bumpers, the second one being a Listed race at Market Rasen, of course it’s had to gauge how far she could go over hurdles next season but with some blacktype already under her belt i can see her reaching a good level.

Another jumps season comes to a close for myself, it’s been a shorter than normal one due to various reasons but never the less it’s been as good as ever but now it is time for a change of pace and at the end of the month it’ll be all roads leading to Haydock again as the flat makes a welcome return.

Thank you so much for reading and following this and i do hope you’ve found a few winners on the way, Till next time, Goodbye. 

Article & Watty Spots – Neil Watson
Pictures – Lois @lowy121

An AOLR Production – Published : April 2023