Cleeve Notebook horses – w/e 9th September

Horse: Star of Rory (3-Y-O Bay Gelding) (far right)
Trainer: Tom Dascombe

This unexposed horses run at Haydock over the weekend posed more questions than answers, and left any backers rather frustrated. If you had backed him you would have been counting your winnings all the way up the home straight, only to be left wondering how in fact he didn’t win.

Running in a first-time visor he was having only the eighth run of his life, and as they entered the final furlong it looked as though he could cruise past the leader whenever he wanted... but he didn’t. In the end he eyeballed his opponent and appeared to shirk the challenge, but there is also a chance he didn’t quite see out this 10f trip on soft.

So, a possibly slightly dodgy character may not be the wisest place to start with this week’s column, but I think he is worth sticking with one more time. Connections like using prominent tactics and if he were mine I’d be urging them to make all next time out. If he is a herd animal and doesn’t like passing ‘the leader’ it can make sense to ensure they never have to – by making all. He raced in second here, where he eventually finished, the front two clear.

He started his handicap career off a rating of 95 and has now fallen to 87. More forceful tactics and/or a drop back to 8f could see him return to the winner’s enclosure.

Race Type: Handicaps
Race Distance: 8f (proven) – 10f (placed)
Ground Type: Soft (all best form)

Horse: Oriental Lilly (3-Y-O Chestnut Filly)
Trainer: Jim Goldie (pictured)

I suppose this is one of those classic notebook horses…. A hold up sprinter who always does her best work late and leaves you assuming that her time may not be far away. She has yet to win in her seven run career but has placed three times. While clearly moderate, I do think she has wins in her when everything eventually drops right.

She seems versatile over 5f and 6f but does need plenty of pace to aim at. She needs them all to fall in a hole in the latter stages, and some luck in running. In this Musselburgh race she was never going to get there. This is a very quick 5f where the leaders rarely come back and gaps don't always open. She did have to switch and ran on well enough but was never going to catch the two in front.

Given she is a sprinter in form I think she is worth watching on her next few starts. I wonder if running at a track with a stiff finish, such as Hamilton, may help. Or there is a chance that crafty Jim changes tactics and they make all! She does look like she has wins in her from this mark, and with any luck can hit the winner’s enclosure soon. Each way staking (if the price allows), may be wisest way to play this.

Race Type: Handicap
Race Distance: 5-6f
Ground Type: Seems versatile (GS-GF)