Chris Dixon's Notes And Angles: Keep an eye out for Smith's new recruits

By Chris Dixon@cdixon82
Wed 15 Jul 2020

The Racing TV presenter reveals a race to keep an eye on, four horses to add to your tracker and an angle to note regarding an in-form trainer.

The quality racing action in July continued over the last week, with the July meeting at Newmarket taking place alongside an excellent card at York that featured both the Dante and the Musidora.

It’s often the case that the handicaps at the top meetings that supplement the Group action end up being strong pieces of form and, if you’re on the lookout for promising horses to follow and pieces of form that look sure to work out, then Newmarket’s three-day meeting is probably the best starting point.

With that in mind, I’ll start this week with a hot piece of form followed by some horses for the tracker and an angle to note.


Many of the handicaps run at Newmarket from Thursday to Saturday fit the bill, but if there’s one race that seems to deliver each season in terms of producing future winners, it’s the three-year-old sprint handicap which was won this year by the improving Progressive Rating.

As ever, the race was full of lightly-raced sprinters, many already on the up, with six of the 17 strong field having won their previous start, and several strong form lines represented.

All things considered, it’s a race that should churn out several winners in the weeks and months ahead.



Watch how Zabeel Champion scored at Newmarket

Mark Johnston always has a plethora of progressive middle-distance three-year-old’s, and they tend to be placed to advantage during the course of the season.

Zabeel Champion was disappointing when sent off 11-2 for the race I put forward as hot form on the first Notes And Angles column in early June, but has put things right since with back-to-back victories.

The latest was over some other improving and well-treated three-year-old’s and the manner of his victory suggests he’s worth keeping a close eye on for the rest of the campaign, particularly when upped to 1m4f.

Soon sent to the lead under P. J. McDonald, he was challenged from around the 3f pole but kept on finding and was well on top at the line plus looked like a horse who’ll progress again as his stamina is drawn out.

The time also suggests he’s still got potential to be well in despite a revised mark of 91, while his pedigree is another pointer in that direction.

SAM COOKE – Ralph Beckett

Watch how Sam Cooke fared on his seasonal debut

Sam Cooke’s profile suggests he’s had a few issues in his career so far, but providing he can be kept right, this four-year-old still has time on his side.

Only five runs into his career, he followed up a winning end to his two-year-old season with an impressive win in testing ground at Chester on what proved to be his only start as a three-year-old in May last year and wasn’t seen again until last week at Newmarket.

Beaten just under five lengths into fifth behind some well-handicapped horses, he moved through the race like a horse who had returned in form and had a reasonable amount in hand of his mark.

Taking a while to settle, the progress he made from 3f out to 1f out was especially eye catching, but he flattened out late on, shaping like a horse who was value for being closer.

A strong-travelling horse, it might be that he’s going to be ideally suited by a good gallop over a couple of furlongs shorter on soft ground, but with his pedigree a pointer towards this trip being within range, I wouldn’t be afraid of supporting him over this distance now he has a run behind him.


Balancing Act finished a never-nearer fourth at Pontefract this month

Balancing Act has been scuppered by a poor draw on both outings this season but has shaped with encouragement on each occasion.

The latest came at Pontefract last week when fourth from stall 11 over 5f. The other five horses that finished in the first six all raced on the favoured inside rail, and it’s to her credit that she could get as close as she did following a wide, and troubled, passage.

A 1lb drop in the weights for this means she’s now 6lbs lower than her opening rating and she’s looking like a well-handicapped filly once she gets things in her favour.

ARCTIC FOX – Richard Fahey

Ripon is a tough track to make ground from off the pace unless the pace is overly strong, and in a race where it wasn’t, Arctic Fox shaped nicely when third last week.

Held up early, she was trapped on the rail and had to wait for an out as the race developed ahead of her but kept on well late.

Dropped 1lb for this run behind a couple of well handicapped and better positioned rivals, she is now below her last winning mark and should have plenty of options in the week ahead, including over an extra couple of furlongs, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see her turn up at York on July 25 for a 1m2f fillies’ handicap.


Scottish trainer Mike Smith has had his team in good form over the past few weeks and a couple of successes for the stable have come with horses that had recently joined the yard from recently retired trainer, Lucy Normile.

With that in mind, it’s worth keeping an eye out for any other horses that have made the same switch.

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