That’s the whole season planned for him!

This weeks includes 1 horse who has been raised 1lb on collateral form but I think he’s still much better than his new 99 mark!

Voix Du Reve dropped 1lb to 144

Voix Du Reve has actually dropped 4lb to 144 over fences but I think connections should stick to hurdles next season and he’s now dropped to 145 over hurdles which is the same mark as when 2nd by a neck at Musselburgh in the Hogmaneigh Hurdle. He clearly acts at some tracks and disappoints at others and at this stage of his career, mixing it up going to tracks where he doesn’t/hasn’t run well before would be wasting time for me. I think therefore he should be kept to what he’s good at. That said, in order to get a run under his belt whilst aiming high, I hope he returns next season in the Greatwood Hurdle. It’s a race worth winning but if it doesn’t work out, he should be fitter for his next run and potentially even drop further down the handicap. I would be running him in

Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham in November
December Handicap at Sandown in believe it or not December
Hogmaneigh Handicap Hurdle at Musselburgh in January
Scottish County Hurdle at Musselburgh in February
Imperial Cup at Sandown in March.

His form at these tracks (taking out Cheltenham) reads 222 (beaten a neck, neck and 3/4 lengths).

Dandy Dan dropped 5lb to 135

Dandy Dan is a horse I think could make into a National horse (Welsh or Midlands) next season but hope connections start campaigning him as such. He ran a good race in October 2020 in the Durham National at Sedgefield off 143 (could return off 135) when only beaten by Red Giant (who made amends for jockey taking wrong course in 2018). Dandy Dan was only 7 at the time and I think will continue to stay further at 8, 9 and older and think he can now go back up in trip. After dropping back to hurdles after his good 2nd (suggests connections think he was well handicapped), he disappointed at Kelso and then again at Uttoxeter. I don’t think Uttoxeter was far enough whilst I don’t think he needs to make the running and can instead race just behind the pace. I first and foremost will be very interested in him if he returns to the Durham National at Sedgefield.

Raymond Tusk raised 1lb to 99

Raymond Tusk is a horse I am a huge fan of and I think there is a big race or 2 in him still and hope he can bounce back this season. He went into last season rated 113 after finishing an unlucky 4th in the Ebor and then disappointing in the Melbourne Cup. He returned to the UK winning at Newcastle before disappointing at Wolverhampton when trying to make the running (tactics don’t suit him). He was then never run over his ideal 1m6f trip and was dropped to 1m3f for the November handicap, ran 3 times on the AW before returning this season off a mark of 99. His return for new trainer Alan King was a good effort when 3rd over 1m3f at Doncaster finishing behind the 109 rated and fully fit Outbox. Last time out Raymond Tusk returned to his optimum 1m6f trip at Nottingham and ran a great race in a Listed event when 3rd. Despite being beaten 9 1/2 lengths, this for me was a very good performance. The winner Sir Ron Priestley has since won at Newmarket in a Group 2 (and has only been beaten once in last 6 runs, in the Group 1 St Leger) in good style whilst the runner up has since finished 2nd to Stradivarius at Ascot and is now rated 112. Sir Ron is likely to be raised 3 or 4lb to 115 ish which means Raymond Tusk was beaten by horses rated 13lb and 16lb higher. If they gave Raymond Tusk that much weight in a handicap, I think the result could have been different. As such I hope Raymond Tusk is now aimed at a handicap or 2. The first being the Bet365 Trophy at Newmarket in July. He’s only had 1 run at the track and he finished a good 2nd Loxley (2 wins in last 3 in Listed Race and Group 2 in Meydan) and so I think the course will suit. I think he would go very close here and if he were to win then a return to the Ebor would surely be the plan.

Hortzadar dropped 1lb to 96

Annoyingly he’s been dropped 1lb to 96 and not 2lb to 95 which would have meant he could have dropped in class. I do think he’s well handicapped off 96 but does need things to drop his way. He ran at the weekend in the Thirsk Hunt Cup but had a terrible draw and was dropped out the back (probably would have been anyway) but was never able to get involved, always had a wall of horses in front of him and could never get a run and Danny wasn’t too hard on him. Dropping 1lb is a plus for next time if he can get a race run to suit. He caught my eye at Doncaster in the Lincoln and a return to that form would see him go very close wherever he ran. I hope it might be at Goodwood on Friday 21st May over 7f. The trip is probably just short of his optimum but staying in class 2 company should see the race ran at a proper pace and the long straight should mean he can be maneuvered out and down the centre of the track to make his challenge. The Golden Mile at Goodwood could well be the long term target but his mark of 96 would be right on the cusp of getting in, so a good performance in the aforementioned race would be ideal as would likely guarantee him a place in the race.

Maries Diamond dropped 1lb to 107

Marie’s Diamond outran his odds last year at Royal Ascot in the Queen Anne Stakes when finishing 3rd and has since then been highly tried without success. His most recent run at Ascot was very disappointing finishing 8th of 9. I do wonder whether that will change the plan for him and instead of returning for the Queen Anne Stakes they drop into handicap company for the Royal Hunt Cup. If he does run at Royal Ascot and disappoints, I hope connections may send him to Ireland for the lucrative Premier Handicaps at the Curragh as well as the Irish Cambridgeshire. Marie’s Diamond has twice been to the Curragh as a 2 year old and won a Group 3 and finished 2nd in a Group 2 behind Van Beethoven (beaten 1/2 length) suggesting the course isn’t a problem. I hope he runs at Royal Ascot in the Royal Hunt Cup but he’s one to keep an eye on for when he does drop into handicap company.