Neal Hough | Weekly Flat Racing Blog

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Hola or Hello,

I’d like to introduce myself, my name is Neal Hough I’ve been a trader here at for the last 11 years with the last 6 of them being on the Horse Desk. 

I will be producing a flat racing blog every week from here on in. I'll be going over the last 7 days racing, bringing up horses to follow, punts landed or not landed (both mine and others) and anything else I deem worthwhile from the better half of the racing calendar (no twig jumping chat here).

Monday 18th:

Aiden O’Brien landed a four timer at a rather oddly arranged, rare Monday evening card at Dundalk, but only one horse to follow from the four and that will be Caravaggio. He was backed all day from 10/11, returned 1/3 and the result was never in doubt. Both of O’Briens 2yo’s that have run at Dundalk have looked ready to do their jobs and been backed like it as well. Expect to see Caravaggio upped in grade next time out - he will not look out of place at Royal Ascot.

On a quiet day in England Cat Royale landed a quiet touch for Jane Chapple-Hyam at Windsor.

Tuesday 19th:

Just one horse to mention here - Therthaar. 6lb wrong at the weights, but backed at Wolver from 20/1 in to 7/1. Won easily by 7 lengths first time out in a handicap, stepped up in trip. The 3rd, Schoolby Error, has already come out and won yesterday (Monday) and Therthaar runs again in the 21.20 Wolverhampton tonight under a penalty.

Wednesday 20th:

Epsom’s so called Derby trial was won cosily by the only filly in the race, the regally bred So mi Dar, trained by John Gosden. Considering Dettori lost his whip over a furlong out and the filly could only be pushed out hands and heels the performance can be upgraded. The Musidora at York is next for her, then back to Epsom for the Oaks where the experience she has gained will be invaluable. She is priced at 11-2 with us for Epsom glory and the 8/1 still available with others looks an decent e/w price for the type that her top class handler excels with in a race that often cuts up to few runners.

Thursday 21st:

To much twig jumping and nothing to report flat wise!

Friday 22nd:

Two horses to note at Doncaster - Red Verdon was an unlucky loser in the 3yo 1m2f hcap, denied a clear run up the rail then hampered about 150 yards out. He flew home to be denied by a short head, it wasn't Graham Lee’s finest hour. The horse has an entry at Salisbury at the five days stage in the same grade and should be backed if he shows up.

The other massive eyecatcher was the John Gosden trained Remarkable who was just that in the 6f handicap. He dwelt and was hampered at start, but he flew home down the outside in the last 2 furlongs to win by nearly 2 lengths. His opening handicap mark of 76 has obviously given him leeway and if by seasons end he isn't listed class I’ll jump out of the window! This son of Pivotal needs to sort himself out coming out of the stalls but if he can, surely a top class handicap at least will come his way. In the same colours as his full sister Infallible, who was rated over 110, I'd say get this horse in any notebook you have to follow all season.

Down at Sandown - My Dream Boat stepping up to 1m2f won a poor renewal of the Gordon Richards Stakes, giving 3lb and a beating to the underperforming and gelded Western Hymn whose head carriage is very reminiscent of a few types when asked to go to the bar to buy a round (no names mentioned).

Toormore, trained by racing ambassador Richard Hannon, successfully gave 3lb and a beating to the whole field in the Group 2 Sandown Mile. This was supposed to be a prep for the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, but this horse goes well fresh and I’m not sure how much more improvement there is to come.

The Derby trial was won by Midday’s son Midterm, beating the improving Algometer with 8 lengths back to the third. The Sir Michael Stoute trained winner apparently does less at home than I do, but comes alive at the track. He travelled like a really classy horse and when Algometer pressed him in last furlong and he went again when Ryan Moore gave him a few taps, we went 5/1 after the race which caused a few twitter sages to suggest we were to short however he is now 6/1 top price for the Epsom showpiece. Algometer, with a stronger staying pedigree, is expected to miss the Epsom Derby and head to the Curragh for the Irish Derby. His trainer David Simcock believes the cambers of Epsom wont suit him, so he looks an ideal candidate for the St Leger as well later on in the year.

Saturday - 23rd: Leicester 

Hugo Palmer is fast improving to be one of the finest young trainers on the flat and showed at Leicester just why his 2yo winner Hyperfocus looks very classy. After winning by 5 lengths on his debut, and looks Royal Ascot class, he will take in a Newbury 6f race first then head to Ascot with more experience under his belt. The double was brought up by Home Of The Brave in the Listed race, again ridden by the excellent William Buick. This gelded front runner stayed the stiff 7f well on his seasonal reappearance and it's all systems go for the Lockinge stakes next at Newbury where he will go well as long as they don't get very soft going .

This next horse, Du Moto, is another for the season long notebook. It's interesting to note that Sir Michael Stoute has his horses more forward than last season and this expensive horse owned by Michael Tabor’s mother Doreen had already won an ordinary staying maiden at Pontefract. He followed up here in his first handicap off a mark of 79 and stayed on very well to score with plenty in hand - this 510,000 yearling is starting to pay off his high purchase price. The handicapper will have his say, but I'd expect a 9 or 10 lb rise wont stop this horse from winning again - perhaps the 1m2f handicap on Derby day at Epsom may be the aim, but he has the pedigree to aim even higher and I expect listed, group class races await him later in the season.

An honourable mention to UAE Prince is also made here, if only because I fell for the hype machine - it caused great amusement amongst my colleagues, especially for the one that layed me the said beast at 6/5 in the morning, only for it to be backed in to odds on, for the horse to trail in 3rd - bubble burst and I was schooled.

Another Sir Michael Stoute horse landed a nice touch at Doncaster in the 18.35 race. Forge backed at all rates from 3/1 early in to a return of 5/6 the booking of Richard Kingscote, a strange one but the money was landed by 5 lengths. An exciting 3 year old colt, he looks a black type horse in the making.

Well hope you can glean some info from the above and the 2 notebook horses for the season this week to follow are:

Remarkable - John Gosden

Du Moto - Sir Michael Stoute

More from me next week including the two day Newmarket Guineas meeting.


Houghy - @NealHough.

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