Coral Eclipse (Group 1)

The Coral-Eclipse is the point of the season where the classic generation locks horns with their peers while in receipt of the maximum weight for age allowance, currently set at 10lbs.

However, despite that welter burden the older horses have tended to hold sway unless faced with a real top-notcher, which suggest that experience counts for a lot at this stage of the season - a picture which is much reversed in a few months' time when we reach the Arc.

3-y-o's have won just three of the last ten, and two of those were Sea The Stars and Golden Horn, who clearly were very high class. The Derby form is looking quite decent so far, but as far as we know there's nothing of that calibre here.

Last year, 3-y-o's Hawkbill and The Ghurka faced a field without Group 1 credentials and brushed them aside, but that's certainly not the case this time with multiple Group 1 winner DECORATED KNIGHT in the field and the closely matched and improving Ulysses. It's looks a tight one.

Of the 3yo's, I would definitely be against a miler stepping up such as Barney Roy and I think CLIFFS OF MOHER is just a faster, more classy horse than Eminent. This also looks the perfect trip for the Ballydoyle favourite.

Overall, I have the race quite strongly as a 3-way tussle between Cliffs Of Moher and the improving Ulysses and Decorated Knight, and the way the market is shaped , I think backing two again the field looks a decent way to go.

Good luck,

3.35 Sandown, Cliffs Of Moher, 2pt win 2/1 generally
3.35 Sandown, Decorated Knight, 1pt win 9/1 various

Herbie is one of the resident pro-gamblers in ENIGMA:


Cliffs Of Moher, faces stiff competition in the Coral Eclipse from Decorated Knight



Stobart Rail Northumberland Plate (Heritage Handicap)

There aren't many yards in this country where the trainer might turn around to you in January and say "I think I've got the favourite for the Northumberland Plate, would you like a share?" Fewer still of the calibre of Sir Mark Prescott; who after all, when it comes to talented stayers is a man who knows his onions. Fewer still, come true.

Just such a conversation happened to Tim Palin of Middleham Park Racing, and Tim, being the gent he is, gave us a chance to take a share for the Enigma Racing syndicates. If there's one horse we've ever been offered that was a no-brainer, this was it.

And so, six months later, remarkably, here we are with a share in the favourite for the Northumberland Plate - one of those grand staying races we've all grown up with. Win, lose or draw we wouldn't swop this experience for the world. That said, and we are terribly biased on this subject, we think he can win. Sir Mark thinks so too. Flymetothestars is a quality animal, he's ready to roll and has a lovely draw in stall 8.

Most of all we know there's improvement on tap. This is just his 5th career start and everything about his performances to date suggests he wants an end to end gallop at this trip. Last time, in his prep over course and distance, they dawdled and sprinted - that's not really him and he still brushed them aside. Sir Mark is confident FMTTS remains a well handicapped horse on a mark of 100. He's exactly where he wants to be, and it's the race he's been trained for since October.

Preparations have gone smoothly, no niggles, no hold ups. Your only snag is he's 9/2 today - and ENIGMA members were on at 10/1 weeks ago when the market opened.

If the Gods smile on us today, just this one winner will pay for most people's forum subscription for many years to come. The syndicates have already landed 6 winners in June - many strongly flagged in our gallop reports. Perhaps it's time to get ENIGMA batting for you?

Good luck,

3.30 Newcastle, Flymetothestars 2pt EW 9/2 generally, 4x1/4

Herbie is one of the resident pro-gamblers in ENIGMA:

Flymetothestars, probably the best racehorse in the world



William Hill Scottish Sprint Cup Handicap (Class 2)

The Scottish Sprint Cup is a race the market often reads wrong. Taking all renewals at Musselburgh since 2003, put £1 on every runner and you’d almost break even (- £3.75). Any race where that happens is heaven-sent for value players.

The way to play them is to forget about picking winners, instead think carefully about horses that have a believable frame chance at a big price - over time some of those frame chances will covert to winners, so initially make your target wide.

This is a sprint where weight tends to matters more than class. You can tell that by the number of claiming riders who win or run well. In some races that wouldn't be the case at all, but here, despite what the market thinks, it's weight that's king - much more so than draw:

Riders without a claim: 8 wins from 148 runners for -42.75 level stakes profit (LSP).

Riders with a claim: 5 wins from 66 runners for +39.00 LSP
You can boost this further by sticking purely to runners officially rated no more than 7lbs above their most recent win. Just adding this logical filter improves things to:

5 wins from 47 runners for +58 LSP; or each way 9 win and placed for +61.12 LSP.

In 2017, this criteria of a claiming rider on fairly treated horses, gives a short-list of; Kimberella, Mirza, Orions Bow and Jack Dexter. However, I am not interested in well-fancied horses - we are scanning for EW value 14/1+ (the higher the better).

The one that interests me most is JACK DEXTER from the wily Jim Goldie. How sweet it would be for Jim to win the Scottish Sprint Cup with the horse named after two of his grandchildren. I think he's having a real rip at this, Goldie even laying the seeds of his excuse by reporting that Jack Dexter had a problem in the spring but is healthy again now.

Jack Dexter lines up 9lbs lower than when a close up 4th last July in a £62k handicap at Ascot, over 5fl on gd-fm. This is a horse who was 2nd in the Gr2 Temple Stakes the year before on good ground, when rated 108. He runs here off 92 and claims 5lbs. The draw is decent and there were quiet signs of revival on his recent prep run. This looks tee'd up to a nicety.

The only question is going and undoubtedly they would prefer it softer - but he is absolutely proven on decent ground over 5fl and there's no doubt in my mind if they want to try, and they definitely are, then good ground is good enough. With luck in running I suspect he's got a knocking frame chance at a big price. If it does get too quick for him, then he's one for the tracker.

Good luck,

Jack Dexter, 1pt EW 25/1 various, 4x1/4

Herbie is one of the resident pro-gamblers in ENIGMA:


** Feedback: Couldn't find a way through for his trademark late run, snatched up and finished full of running. One to follow, goes very well at Ascot so that could be his next stop **

Jack Dexter looks under the radar for Jim Goldie in the Scottish Sprint Cup


Betway Pinnacle Stakes (Group 3)

We don't tend to put up much of anything on this blog at shortish prices, but AJMAN PRINCESS holds a decent chance today in the Betway Pinnacle Stakes.

Her best form as a 3yo came in soft conditions over 12fl in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot - and the round course there can get pretty testing - although she is ground versatile and has since proved very effective in faster conditions.

This year things have gone smoothly; 2 wins from 2 starts, hacking up 5 lengths latest in Listed company at Goodwood. She is a filly on a roll, only really just getting to grips with life - and just the sort that tends to keep on improving through their peak season.

The only real query is whether the going at Haydock, which can get pretty sticky, will prove too much for her. However, as fillies and mares Gr3's go this doesn't look like one that will take too much winning.

Ajman Princess lines up looking very much the class act and ripe to find more improvement. This will be a test of her mental resolution but in the circumstances, 9/4 or better must be of interest.

Good luck,

Ajman Princess, 2pt win 9/4 generally (some 5/2 with Black Type)

Herbie is one of the resident pro-gamblers in ENIGMA:

Ajman Princess can go one better than the Ribblesdale for Roger Varian and Sheikh Obaid


The Investec Derby (Group 1)

The 3-y-o division acquired a new star in the Oaks yesterday, but there's nothing in this field that inspires quite the same confidence. In an open renewal every man and his dog has turned up for a crack at the blue ribband, resulting in a packed field. Draw and luck in running are sure to play their part.

Through the initial twists over the 12fl course at Epsom, those drawn very low or high are at a disadvantage. Stalls 1 and 2 have to burn excessive gas to hold a position, while stalls higher than 14 have little option but to slot in towards the rear or try to get right on the pace. In fact for win purposes, unless you have a lot of talent, any draw higher than 10 makes life tricky.

This century 64 horses have been drawn in stalls 10 or higher, the only ones to win were Australia (2.38 fav) and Authorized (2.25 fav) who both had that bit of extra star quality - and in Authorised's case, head and shoulders above the field.

Cliffs Of Moher, drawn 13, looks worth taking on. He has clearly done well at home since the Dee Stakes, but unless he has a charmed run will need to be a much better horse than the one we saw there. Looking at the rest of the field, there's no doubt in my mind his main rival is CRACKSMAN.

Personally, I think it's fairly safe to assume Cracksman would come here as the Dante winner and a hot favourite if the ground had been suitable for a run at York. Despite every kind of disadvantage, he got the better of Dante winner Permian in the Epsom Derby Trial (lack of experience, greenness, luck in running and slow early fractions). Cracksman ended up in a pocket and in the circs, with greenness to overcome, did extremely well to overhaul a very tough horse, with far more experience who got first run.

Opting to give Cracksman an Epsom course gallop in 'Breakfast With The Stars' looks a shrewd move and they've been rewarded with a prime draw in stall 7. That should be enough to give Frankie first run over Cliffs Of Mohar. If Anthony Oppenheimer's colt can get to the front in the last two furlongs, I don't think anything will get past him.

Good luck,

Cracksman, 1.25pt EW 5/1 generally, 4x1/5

Herbie is one of the resident pro-gamblers in ENIGMA:


** Feedback: a close up 3rd, excellent run, easily beat the Dante winner Permian. Ballydoyle mugged the field with two strong running pacemakers, everyone fell for it and the race was set up for those held up. Cracksman the only horse in the first 5 home who was to the fore and lasted home, which underlines how well he ran **

Cracksman might prove the answer in an average quality renewal of the Investec Derby