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Timeform Features
This week's edition of the Timeform Notebook focuses on three horses operating on the northern jumps scene...

Owned by J.P McManus and trained by Jonjo O'Neill, Ballyclough had an interesting profile entering handicaps for the first time. He had shown enough ability to win a bumper and a maiden hurdle on his first two starts before struggling in a stronger novice event at Bangor, finishing down the field when not given a hard time. He looked fairly treated on his return from a ten-month absence but was simply given far too much to do, held right up in the early stages and never remotely looking like getting into contention under considerate handling. Better days lie ahead for the lightly-raced and unexposed Ballyclough, most likely when the market in his favour.

Returning from an 18-month absence, Yurok made a highly encouraging first start over fences at Carlisle, jumping accurately and making steady late headway over a trip that will surely prove to be short of his optimum. The Sue Smith-trained eight-year-old had shown promise over hurdles, enough to merit inclusion as one of Timeform's 50 horses to follow for the 2011/12 jumps season, but, unfortunately, he didn't make it to the racecourse. Thursday's initial effort over fences suggests that he will be able to make up for lost time, with novice chases in excess of two miles likely to suit.

The final horse that makes it into this week's edition of the Timeform Notebook is Crowning Jewel. He was presumably having a pipe-opener on his seasonal reappearance, competing in a novice hurdle over an inadequate two miles, but he shaped well nevertheless, finishing strongly having been briefly outpaced two furlongs out. It wasn't the first time that Crowning Jewel has caught the eye; he is actually one of this season's fifty horses to follow based on some promising efforts last term. Fairly treated on an official mark of 122, Crowning Jewel can make an impact returned to handicap company.


Runners Debrief

In a surprising twist, we have some positive news to report this week as Miss Dashwood and Princess Caetani registered victory. Miss Dashwood had already justified her inclusion by winning a shade cosily at Wolverhampton and, back at that venue, she followed up, winning with more in hand than the bare margin would suggest. She tends to travel powerfully through her races but idles on hitting the front. This trait should ensure that Miss Dashwood will stay ahead of the handicapper and land the hat-trick of wins.

Princess Caetani's success wasn't achieved in anything like as comfortable fashion but, having been on the wrong end of a few photo finish decisions, you will hear no complaints from us. She clearly revels in the mud and is likely to go well again if turned out before the end of the season.

Moving on to the less satisfactory results, English Summer was well fancied to go close having been narrowly denied the last twice but, though running respectably, he couldn't match either of those efforts. Marshgate Lane was the other disappointment, briefly threatening three furlongs out, but hanging badly left and reportedly losing his action.

It will be a quiet week on the Notebook front as Restaurateur and Semeen are our sole entries. Restaurateur has a couple of engagements, including on the polytrack at Kempton. His profile suggests that he is highly effective on the surface and he has the potential to make up into something of an all-weather specialist.

It is possible that Semeen didn't handle the undulations when last seen at Brighton. He remains fairly unexposed and should prove to be more effective on Lingfield's fairly conventional all-weather track.


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A treble for this afternoon

11 Oct 12 10:10
The opening contest at Exeter looks an eminently winnable one, with the John Ferguson-trained Printmaker taken to make a winning debut over hurdles. The four-year-old was fairly useful at up to a mile and a quarter on the Flat in Ireland and he should take a fair amount of stopping here if translating anything like that ability to his new profession, particularly with his yard in good form (fired in a brace of winners yesterday). Ferguson has done well with horses of a similar profile previously and, with question marks over plenty of his rivals, Printmaker looks more than capable of going close.

Hello Stranger has done nothing wrong in his short career to date, comprising just the two runs, and he is taken to confirm himself as being well treated on what will represent his second start in handicaps. The three-year-old made a winning debut at Newcastle last month in what was admittedly a modest maiden, but he progressed as expected on his next start when second to Ambitious Icarus at Nottingham, value for extra credit over the bare form as, having tracked the strong pace in a race where it paid to be held-up, he did well to finish as close as he did. Racing from the same mark today, Hello Stranger is of the upmost interest and is put forward as our bet of the day.

The conditions race at 19:20 on this evening's Kempton card is the scene of our final selection, as the Richard Hannon-trained Beedee ought to appreciate the step up to a mile and can gain his third win. The two-year-old landed a Chepstow maiden on debut and has progressed well since, comfortably notching a second success at this track last month before a strong-finishing second at Epsom 11 days ago. The extra furlong seems certain to suit, and he can round off what will have hopefully been a fruitful day for this column.

Back Printmaker @ 2.5 in the 14:20 at Exeter
Back Hello Stranger @ 4.4 in the 16:10 at Ayr
Back Beedee @ 3.7 in the 19:20 at Kempton


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Ascot 4.05: preview and tip

05 Oct 12 07:49
Biographer takes the eye on looks and is progressing along the right lines, digging deep to land soft-ground 1½m handicap at Ffos Las before excellent second in Melrose at York. Strong claims.

Cavaleiro ended 2011 with pair of wins over 1m and improved again when third in Lingfield Derby Trial. Good second on return from break at Newbury last time and worth a try at this trip.

Last Shadow revels in the mud, improving to gain third win at Windsor in July. Good second at Haydock last time but looks up against it in this company.

Signed Up has quickly progressed into a useful performer, winning strong Sandown maiden in June before following up in Goodwood handicap last month. Likely to stay this far and still open to more improvement.

Sir Graham Wade flopped in the Melrose but has done nothing but improve otherwise, overcoming trouble in running to take Old Borough Cup at Haydock before landing Mallard at Doncaster following week. Big player.

Good Morning Star sprang a 50/1 shock in Cheshire Oaks in May. Has held her form well in face of stiff tasks since but this no easier.

Monshak won a Chepstow maiden and 1¾m Chester handicap. Refused to race (visored) next time before out of her depth in Park Hill at Doncaster. Likely to prove vulnerable.

Salford Art put up easily her best effort at 2 yrs when fourth in Fillies' Mile at Newmarket. Filled same spot in Pretty Polly, Musidora and the Ribblesdale but ran poorly last time. Likely to find a few too strong again.

Tempest Fugit is by High Chaparral and looked a useful filly in the making when bolting up in Kempton maiden 2 weeks ago. Taking a massive hike in class now but can't be underestimated.

Timeform 1-2-3:
1. Biographer
2. Sir Graham Wade
3. Signed Up


Timeform Verdict: Sir Graham Wade is thriving at the moment and makes plenty of appeal but narrow preference is for Biographer, who's only had 5 outings in his career and showed he's still firmly on the upgrade when runner-up in the Melrose at York. The unexposed Signed Up is a potential fly in the ointment.

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Falasteen had multiple trainers during career to date, and not gone on from promise of his debut for current yard. Well held at Bath last time, and hard to support for all this represents an easier task.

Bouncy Bouncy has been hit and miss since regaining winning thread at Yarmouth (5f) in April, and may have been helped by run of race when a respectable third of 9 at Ffos Las after a break last month. More needed now.

Quaroma has been lightly-raced in recent years, and probably not the force of old, but easy to forgive latest effort on heavy ground at Ayr, and claims if building on promise of previous couple of starts this year.

Cardinal was successful twice in June, at Windsor (6f) and Sandown (5f), both with some ease in the ground. Back to form after a break when third at Goodwood last time, and that run should have put an edge on him.

Shawkantango made a great start to 2012, winning 2 Wolverhampton handicaps prior to cashing in off much lower turf mark at Newcastle. Looked rusty on return from more than 4 months off at former track last time.

Whitecrest is hard to win with, and while she bounced back to best when second at Brighton on penultimate start, she was helped by how that race developed, and wasn't in same form at Lingfield last time.

Ginger Ted is a hold-up sprinter who won twice in 2011 for Richard Guest, but not fired for new yard this year despite a rapidly-declining mark. Cheekpieces refitted in place of visor he's worn for last 2 starts.

Comptonspirit has a good record at Bath, and back to form when placed in 5.7f handicaps there last twice. Claims if in same mood now, but overall form has a patchy look about it.

Invincible Force was successful in 5f Carlisle handicap last summer. Only seen twice this year, and has shaped like a horse with problems on both occasions, so not easy to support now.

Sleepy Blue Ocean is a front runner who took advantage of a drop in the weights to score at Doncaster (6f) in July, and solid efforts in defeat on last 2 starts. Ought to be in the shake-up once more.

Bahama Spirit landed a 6f maiden at Fairyhouse at 2 yrs, but gone the wrong way subsequently, and well beaten all 4 starts for new yard this term. Latest run excusable, but must do better now tried in cheekpieces.

Hello Stranger is a half-brother to Irish 5f scorer Shinko Dancer, and knew his job when beating 12 others in ordinary 5f maiden at Newcastle last month. Entitled to progress, but facing a sterner test on handicap bow.

One Kool Dude has improved since tried in a visor, landing gamble in 5f Yarmouth handicap in July. Below form on last 2 starts, but seemed ill at ease on track at Chester last time, and that run best excused.

Amber Heights left David Pinder after return, and best effort for new yard when winning 5.7f handicap at Bath last time. Suited by strong pace there and may find a 6-lb rise too much to overcome now.

Ambitious Icarus has been holding his form well, and ran well when neck second of 9 to Northern Bolt in 6f handicap at Hamilton last time. This trip a minimum for him, but sure to give his running, and not dismissed lightly.

Style And Panache has proved largely disappointing this year, her best effort coming when tried in a visor at Newbury in August. Not beaten far when mid-field at Bath last time, but percentage call is to oppose again.

Timeform 1-2-3:
1. Cardinal
2. Ambitious Icarus
3. Sleepy Blue Ocean


Timeform Verdict: Cardinal shaped as if just in need of the run on his return from a short break last time, and can regain winning ways in a race which isn't as competitive as the numbers suggest. Ambitious Icarus and Sleepy Blue Ocean are both holding their form well, and are others to make some appeal.

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Chilworth Icon has won 3 of his 9 starts, including Woodcote Stakes at Epsom and Group 3 at Milan. Limitations exposed since and vulnerable under a penalty.

Canary Row finished runner-up to Dawn Approach on debut before scoring at Tipperary. Improved on return from break when fourth in listed race at Leopardstown despite shaping as if needing run. More required here.

Ebn Arab was the well-backed favourite when running out ready winner of York maiden on debut, and far from disgraced fast-tracked to pattern level when fourth in Acomb there next time. Remains open to improvement.

Glean was the stable second string but created good impression when landing Newbury maiden (7f) last month, and ran well when second of 3 at Salisbury next time. Again looks stable number 2 here, though.

Havana Gold was impressive debut at Newmarket before following up in minor event at Ascot. Would have made it 3 from 3 but for slipped saddle in listed race at Deauville but made amends at Haydock next time.

Ocean Applause was not disgraced when fifth in Superlative Stakes, and ran to similar level next 3 starts. Disappointed in headgear last time, though, and highly unlikely he'll be losing his maiden tag in this.

Unsinkable maintained unbeaten record when just fending off a next-time-out winner at Doncaster (6f) in July. Not raced since but open to further progress now given a stiffer test.

Well Acquainted got off mark at fourth time of asking at Epsom and was much improved when second in valuable sales race at York. Not disgraced on AW last time and return to this trip will suit.

Timeform 1-2-3:
1. Havana Gold
2. Well Acquainted
3. Ebn Arab


Timeform Verdict: Havana Gold is unfortunate not to remain unbeaten and can take the step up to pattern company in his stride. Well Acquainted, Ebn Arab and Unsinkable can battle it out for the minor placings.

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Qustioning won the Earl of Sefton at Newmarket in April and followed that with good second in Sandown Group 2. Not been at best since, though, and carried head awkwardly when fifth in Group 3 at York last time.

Pisco Sour showed smart form for Hughie Morrison last year, winning Tercentenary Stakes and Prix Eugene Adam. Disappointing for new yard this year, though, and gelded since last run. Cheekpieces also reached for.

Voodoo Prince is a lightly-raced gelding who improved for reappearance to take 10-runner 1¼m Ripon handicap last month. Remains relatively unexposed and should continue on upward curve, but this demands more.

Love Your Looks progressed well to win first 2 starts this year on polytrack, and runner-up in a trio of turf handicaps earlier in the summer. Not discredited in listed company last twice, but others stronger now.

Primevere was the winner of a listed contest at Salisbury (1¼m) last year, and back to form when runner-up in Group 3 company last 2 starts. Stuck on well last time, and every chance if taking to a first-time visor.

Ektihaam impressed when winning a 1¼m minor event at Newbury before pushing Bonfire hard in the Dante in May. Met trouble in Prix du Jockey Club last time, and that run easily forgiven. Blinkers tried now.

Rockinante showed useful form as a juvenile, ending campaign with Group 3 win at Newmarket in October. Not progressed this year, however, and well held in a 1m listed contest at Haydock last time.

Timeform 1-2-3:
1. Ektihaam
2. Primevere
3. Questioning


Timeform Verdict: Ektihaam had nothing go right in the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly last time, and ought to take plenty of beating if repeating his second in the Dante Stakes in May. Primevere also sports first-time headgear, and looks the chief threat after a solid run at higher level last time.

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Free Zone is a front runner who has already won twice this season, including minor event over C&D. Another decent effort in listed event at York last time, but this is no easier under a penalty.

Burning Thread won a valuable 5f Musselburgh handicap last summer, but not so good in 2012, and well below form last 2 starts. Given a try in a hood, but this looks too stiff a task on these terms

Tax Free is a tough veteran who gained due reward for the summer with a gutsy success at York (5.4f) in August. Not in the same form twice since, including in Portland at Doncaster last week. Races up with pace.

Es Que Love is a front runner who won couple of 6f handicaps in the spring. Several even better efforts in defeat since, though last 3 runs suggest he's gone off the boil (stiff task latest). Player if at best.

Kool Henry is a 5f maiden winner at 2 yrs. Ran well when second in York handicap in June, but in and out since, and very much up against it on these terms even if the visor works the oracle.

Ponty Acclaim ended 2-y-o campaign with win in Group 3 at Ascot. Clear signs of return to form in York handicap in August, but below par in C&D listed event since. Hood on and favoured by these weights. Can lead.

Timeform 1-2-3:
1. Ponty Acclaim
2. Es Que Love
3. Tax Free


Timeform View: None of these was at their best last time, which complicates matters rather, and there will be no hanging around in a field full of speedsters. Ponty Acclaim and Es Que Love are just 2 who race up with the pace, but the conditions of the race favour them, and they are selected in that order.

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Edinburgh Knight split Libranno and Majestic Myles in the Criterion in June and good effort in big-field Ascot handicap next time. No show in Group 2s last 2 runs but this more his level.

Producer is a 7f specialist who goes well on downhill tracks, his 5 career wins coming at Epsom (4) and Goodwood (Group 3) most recently. More required under a penalty here but respected all the same.

Scarf is a multiple winner in Australia and put up a smart performance when readily landing C&D minor event (soft) in July. That level of form puts him bang there but ran poorly on fast ground next time.

Skilful was most impressive when routing opposition off mark of 93 at Haydock 12 months ago. Lightly raced since but ran best race yet when second in listed race at Windsor last time, and worth another try at 7f

Right To Dream showed big improvement when winning 5-runner minor event at Warwick on return from a 5-month break (had been gelded). Found out at this level next time, though, and similar scenario likely.

Saigon won a maiden and listed race at 2 yrs, and ran well when seventh in St James's Palace Stakes. Some creditable efforts since then but probably more at home over 1m.

Silverheels was a maiden winner at 2 yrs and plenty of good efforts in defeat as year progressed. Hard to place this term, albeit mostly running well, and likely to be found wanting at this level.

Van Ellis has generally been progressing well, and seemed to relish the drop to 6f when a decisive winner of York handicap/listed race at Chester. Stays this far but has to put poor run in Turkey behind him.

Zumbi is a lightly-raced colt who's gradually going the right way, looking unlucky when third behind Producer in Group 3 at Goodwood last month. 3 lb better off with that rival now and one to consider

I'm So Glad tends to flash her tail, but has already won 4 times this term, including 2 7f handicaps at Newmarket. Found out in Group 3 next time, though, and this no easier.

Timeform 1-2-3:
1. Skilful
2. Zumbi
3. Van Ellis


Timeform View: Skilful is still unexposed for one his age and is fancied to go well under what could turn out to be his optimum trip. 3-y-os Zumbi and Van Ellis are feared most.

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Casey Top is a useful chaser who won at Killarney in May from Tranquil Sea. Further improvement when second to Bob Lingo in Galway Plate last time and conditions look ideal for another bold showing.

Whodoyouthink benefited from smart ride to score over hurdles at Wexford in March, and easy winner over fences at Punchestown in May. However, he took little interest last time and needs a career best effort.

Fosters Cross is a strong traveller who has bounced back to his very best of late, scoring over fences at Galway last week. Has failed to complete in last 2 renewals of this, though, and very best form at 2m.

Themoonandsixpence is a useful hurdler/chaser who has not been seen since finishing second in the 2010 Galway Plate. Not badly treated on that effort and top yard can ready one after an absence.

Alpine Eagle is a useful hurdler/chaser who was better than ever when scoring over fences at Tipperary in June. Creditable efforts on completed starts since, but he is not sure to stay this longer trip.

Wellforth is a better chaser than hurdler and has scored four times since the turn of the year, including his last 2 starts, scoring easily at Bangor on latest. This is a good deal tougher, though.

Start Me Up got off the mark over fences in 3m Navan maiden in December, and creditable efforts all 3 completed starts since in this sphere since. Entitled to come on for recent return over hurdles and respected.

Campbonnais was successful in Connacht National last term and ran creditably when placed this season, third to Victrix Gale on penultimate start. Joined a yard struggling for winners since disappointing last time.

Deal Done hasn't won for a while but showed he retains plenty of ability when sixth in the Irish Grand National in April and not disgraced when seventh in Galway Plate last time. Blinkers back on.

Premier Dane has been a revelation since joining current yard, scoring on all 3 starts, including twice over hurdles. Remains fairly treated in this sphere, but heavy ground is a definite concern.

Caduceus is a progressive staying chaser who has won 3 of his last 4 starts, landing competitive handicap at Punchestown in May. Testing conditions won't pose a problem, but further progress needed.

Jamsie Hall has been hit and miss over fences since regaining winning thread in a 21f Tramore handicap hurdle in June. Ran well over hurdles last time, but seems better under less testing conditions.

Our Victoria is a pretty reliable mare who is capable of useful form when on song, as shown when third to Ainama in Connacht National at Roscommon penultimate start. Let down by jumping in easier contest last time.

Questions Answered was a fairly useful hurdler/chaser at best, but lightly raced since 2010. Shaped as if in need of return over hurdles last time and market will prove best guide as to expectations back in this sphere.

Quietly Fancied was back to form when third to Caduceus in handicap at Punchestown on return, racing prominently throughtout. Has developed a patchy profile, though, and not guaranteed to back that effort up.

Ponmeoath is a significantly better chaser than hurdler, but shaped well when fourth at Roscommon last time. Won this in 2007 and 2008, and has been given a chance by the handicapper.

King Ali is a useful sort who has proven better than ever over timber of late, scoring at Sligo before good second to Bob Lingo at Killarney last time. Will go close if reproducing that form back over fences.

Save My Blushes produced his best effort for some time when fourth to Kalellshan in a handicap chase at Killarney last time. Makes debut for new yard here but best watched in a race as competitive as this.

Shabra Charity has won twice over fences this summer, but below best on last 2 starts over timber and looks up against it returned to the larger obstacles. Reserve 1

Faltering Fullback's form tailed off after a good second over timber at this meeting last season, and hasn't shown anything this term to suggest a revival is on the cards here. Reserve 2.

Timeform 1-2-3:
1. King Ali
2. Casey Top
3. Deal Done

Timeform View: King Ali has shaped very well on his last 2 starts over hurdles and should prove hard to beat if reproducing those efforts back over fences. Casey Top looks sure to give his running and looks the biggest threat, with Deal Done also capable of getting involved.

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Set The Trend won a listed race at Goodwood before 2 excellent placed efforts in Group 2s for Andrew Balding last term. Off mark for year in minor event at Haydock last time and should make bold bid from front.

Tazahum was the winner of handicap and listed race over C&D last term, and back to form when taking a 1m minor event at Newmarket last month. Good third in Group 3 at York next time and likely to go well again

Fulbright has thrived this summer, recording his third win on the bounce when taking Betfred Mile at Goodwood last month. Good second in listed race at Haydock most recently and comes into the reckoning

Gabrial is progressing along right lines, landing Silver Bowl at Haydock before fifth in St James's Palace at Royal Ascot. Struggled against Frankel after, and stamina stretched most recently. No excuses now.

Elshabakiya Twice runner-up in listed company last season and simple task when landing the odds in 6f maiden at Wolverhampton. Caught very wide next time but bit to find here. NON RUNNER.

Theladyinquestion has clearly had problems, missing 2010 before winning 7f handicap on 2011 return. Has only ran 4 times since, however, shaping as if amiss when last seen in June, and facing a very stiff task here.

Timeform 1-2-3:
1. Tazahum
2. Fulbright
3. Set The Trend


Timeform View: Tazahum is hitting top form now and can record his third C&D victory in this. Fulbright and Set The Trend could give the selection most to think about.

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