It’s that time of year again when the fillies, dull and listless all summer, tend to pop up as unappreciated long shots and reward faithful punters committed to clear thinking with huge returns.

Of course, public hypesters (o/c “tipsters”) do not fall into the above category as their thought processes are limited to “What have you done for me lately?” instead of the more incisive “What are you likely to do for me tomorrow?”

Subject to what Messrs Climate Change and Global Warming may have to say about it, August 28 is usually the magic date. Perhaps, these days, it may be best to wait a few days until September.  The principle traces its thread of thought like this:

  • Horses are people too. They have likes, dislikes, moods and, most importantly, life cycles just like us;
  • The reason the breeding season begins in earnest around March (most farms try to start in February because of the 11 month gestation period and the value placed on “early” foals) and ends in June (some stretch it to July) is not only commercial. It’s also because, during these months,  mares tend to “come on heat” and actually be interested in (or open to encouragement for being interested in) sex. Yep, horses are people too;
  • During these hot summer months, fillies that, in the main, are still competing on the race track, don’t concentrate on the job of competition as well as they should. Their minds drift to their imagination’s picture of the breeding shed. Hence, fillies’ summer form tends, at best, to be inconsistent. Critical thinkers should ALWAYS oppose fillies in the summer months but especially when they start as favourites against males over distances beyond sprints,
  • Btw, fillies become “mares” at 5yo by which time they are race-hardened and not as prone to this sexy quirk so, please (pretty please), would all and sundry STOP referring to She’s a Maneater as a “filly”. She’s a mare for Pete’s sake!
  • As the temperature changes in the lead-up to autumn, you’ll notice fillies, dull all summer, start to bloom on the exercise track and, by September, they’re ready to defeat the boys at races of 1400m+ especially as the conditions usually give then weight advantages due to their poor recent form.

I spotted one such example on August 6 as 4yo filly Miss Linda Wray (regular visors removed), with awful form in the book and missing-in-action since April, showed signs of life coming second (at 36/1) to out of class Msmyrtlerichie Girl in a 4yonw2 1300m event. She immediately entered my Clocked-In Notebook with the following comment “this is her first sign of form this year so is one of those fillies to follow in the autumn”.

That’s the good news. The bad news is I was unable to give you all a heads-up on August 9 [Public Opinion (PO) deadline was August 5] so, on Marcus Garvey’s birthday, when Miss Linda Wray trotted up over 1600m (probably the limit of her stamina) at all of 6/1, PO readers were still following public tipsters who helped to make Kingswood (2nd) an even money favourite. No need to panic. There’s more to come from her (and others like her) for the rest of the year.



This regular review of local performances is based on REAL times.

Abbreviations: CT = “Corrected Time”; TV = “Track Variant” (a calculation of the effect of track conditions on official times to arrive at “real” or “corrected” times); TVs are in fifths of a second; “minus” means a fast track; “plus” a slow track (e.g. -2 means fast by 2/5th of a second). Variants beside horse’s names represent the difference between its official time and the grade standard.

Yet another winner has come out of that July 6 KEY RACE highlighted in July 12’s PO. After Soul Cure/Splendid Vision completed a profitable July 13 exacta and Soul Cure returned to win a nw2 (August 3), now Casual Drink has won a competitive 3yonw2 (August 17) at the value price (in an 8-runner event) of 8/5! Yum, yum! 

AUGUST 10, 2019 [TV+0.4 per 200m (Round) +0 (straight)]

MYSTIC MAMMA (-2) running for only the second time without headgear (Race 2; 3yonw2/Imported Maidens; 1000m (round); TV+2) improved on all previous form to hold off the staying-on ENUFFISENUFF (-2) by a diminishing neck in 1:00.3! Their CT (1:00.1) is 2/5ths second faster than nw3 and 4/5th second faster than nw2. The 2nd is a cinch to recoup losses especially over 1200m+ while the winner can win again if kept to the minimum trip.

TWILIGHT ERUPTION (-3) showed a rare turn of foot (Race 10; 5yonw3; 1200m; TV+2) to quicken past the relatively unexposed SEVEN ELEVEN (-1) and win going away in 1:15.1! The winner’s CT, 1:14.4, is 2/5th second faster than the provisional average for nw3/OT and 1/5th second faster than the standard for $450,000 claimers. She can win again BUT the one to take from the race is the second (running for the first time since claimed on June 30 and only the sixth time for 2019). As if these weren’t sufficient negatives heading into the race, she was also victimized by the kiss-of-death Number One post position. Her CT, 1:15.1, is 3/5th second faster than the grade average so losses are only lent!

N.B. Twilight Eruption was quickly turned out on August 17 (Race 9; 5yonw3/OT; 1300m; TV+1) only managing 8 lengths 6th of 11 to Flowers Thirty. She was prominent; 3rd from 700m out; wide 400m out; one paced final 200m. She’ll be back but needs to be more patiently ridden.

AUGUST 17, 2019 [TV+0.2 per 200m (Round)]

JAMAI RAJA (-6) returned to form running for a first time tag (Race 6; $1,000,000-$850,000 claimers; 1600m; TV+2) making all and cruising home by 10 lengths in 1:38.3! His CT, 1:38.1, was an incredible 1 2/5th second faster than Open Allowance standard and only 4/5th second slower than Grade 1 so he’s one to follow.

Overseas Betting Opportunities (OBOs)

The York August meeting is well underway but there’s an exciting bet available in today’s Sky Bet Handicap (0-105; 3yo+; 1m3f188y; 1355GMT; 7.55a.m. Jamaica Time) where 3yo DEREVO takes on older horses for the first time. He’s 2 for 2 this year on turf and tapeta winning cosily at Newcastle on July 27 in the manner of one with much more to come.

The meeting will culminate tomorrow with the Ebor another big handicap race but, because it is run at 14 furlongs, the betting isn’t as competitive as other Heritage Handicaps over shorter. Still, betting favourites King’s Advice (winner of eight of his nine 2019 starts including 3 at 14f) and Withhold (classy winner of 2019’s Northumberland Plate and Cesarewitch before a winning reappearance at Newbury on July 20) appear vulnerable. The former is 41 lbs higher in the ratings than at the start of 2019 while the latter seems best at 2 miles+.

The each way bet must be the unexposed, improving OUTBOX outpointed by a neck by King’s Advice at Goodwood over 14f on August 3 (now 4lbs better off) and subsequently two lengths 3rd to Kelly’s Dino over an inadequate 12f at Newmarket in first time cheekpieces (August 9). Expect the headgear to be removed tomorrow.

Also on tap tomorrow is the Group 2 Celebration Mile (Goodwood; 1405GMT; 8.05a.m. Jamaica Time) where the ground is expected to be good to soft. This should mean LE BRIVIDO finally proves he’s a high class miler in the making. As always, PO’s early deadlines mean we must make too many assumptions when making these forecasts.

By the time this is published, the PGA Tour Championship’s first round will have been completed but there’s still time to take an interest in my idea of this year’s Fedex Cup winner and winner of the Tour Championship namely JUSTIN THOMAS who has been steadily coming back to his best after a mid-season injury scare and is playing better than anyone else at present.

Let’s close with a notebook horse:

HARRY’S BAR [4yo ch.g. Exceed and Excel-Firenze (Efisio)] is a full brother to prolific sprinter Mazzini and has started to emulate his sibling by progressing through the handicap ratings. He has improved markedly since being dropped to five furlongs on artificial surfaces and had little trouble passing his stiffest test to date at Chelmsford on August 9 after an unusually slow start. He’s an interesting outsider in a big autumn sprint handicap (Portland?) and should be worth following over the winter on the synthetics.

 Good Luck!

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