Welcome to the World of Horseracing

Record of the blog selections

Since March 2010, this blog has recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.

For the 2016-17 Jumps Season, this blog recorded a LOSS of £40.87

from wagers on 55 individual races (6 winners, 12 placed)

Total Staked = £609.00

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advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Clash of the Titans - 15 rounds toe-to-toe - Native River

What a privilege it was to be at Cheltenham to witness a race worthy of standing alongside Red Rum v Crisp.  Forget Grundy v Bustino, this was a gruelling 15-round toe-to-toe heavyweight battle reminiscent of Ali v Frazier.
Like many others, I thought the race was wide open beforehand, but from the off there were only two horses in it, the rest of the field were like the 70,000 crowd in the stands, just spectators.
I've never seen a race like it, Native River and Might Bite were at it from the start, trading blows and daring each other into increasing the pace and spectacular leaps at every fence - I don't think either horse made a single jumping error. As they jumped the "water" on the back straight of the 2nd-circuit and started to run up the hill, only the leading pair were not under a shove from their jockey - and this field was chockablock full of proven top-class 3-mile chasers. As they jumped the 17th fence (open-ditch) Killultagh Vic was already tailed-off and not long after Saphir Du Rheu and Our Duke pulled-up .
At the 3rd-last fence Native River and Might Bite were 5-lengths clear of Road To Respect, Djakadam and Anibale Fly with the remainder having no chance. Coming to the 2nd-last fence, Might Bite made his move - if he was going to win this race this was the time to seek the advantage.  Upsides at the 2nd-last, they jumped and landed together and then ran head-to-head to the final fence - no quarter given nor asked. Again, they jumped and landed together but, this time, Native River picked-up better and stayed-on strong up the famous hill that had seen so much action during the week and was churned like a ploughed field. While the stride of Might Bite shortened, that of Native River never faltered, he was loving the mud and, with the race won, he flashed his tail at his rival.
What a race - and Native River is a year younger than Might Bite.
Going into the race, I thought if NATIVE RIVER could repeat his Welsh National performance (my ratings 169) then he would win the Gold Cup. I've rate this years race via the 3rd placed Anibale Fly who I thought ran to his OR159 rating - and that puts Native River on 169, exactly what he ran on my ratings when winning the Welsh National over 3m5f on soft ground.  On the way to the races, I was sat in Pittville Park having a coffee and I chatted with a couple of other racegoers and explained to them that horses are very consistent; they don't suddenly "find" 10 or 15lb of improvement - what happens is that they run to their best when in their optimum conditions.  At the course, stood amongst the crowd, I chatted with other punters about who they were on, and the majority were on Might Bite.  What about Native River, I asked? He can't win as it is against the trends - no horse placed in the previous Gold Cup has won it the following year, in years. Eh, what about Kauto Star (won 2009), what about The Fellow (won 1994)?  But he's only had one race this season, that's a negative - and what about Bob's Worth (won 2013)?  As I remarked to one punter, if trends were so successful at finding the winner, the bookmakers would be out of business.
Were does that leave Might Bite? I have him rated at 164, which compares favourably with his win at Aintree last April (162) and his win in the RSA Chase at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival (160). He could possibly run better on a flatter track and on better ground, but he is a 9yo and he's not going to find any more improvement at his age.
The 4th placed Road To Respect is rated 156 by me, and that fits in well with his ratings for winning at Leopardstown on 28Dec (161) when he beat Balko Des Flos, and his rating for beating Yorkhill in the Ryanair Gold Gold at Punchestown last April (155).  He is a long way short of his official rating or OR168, I've no idea how he was given that (perhaps the handicapper had too much sherry at Xmas).
Overall, it was a great Festival for me and followers of the blog selections.  I was a bit disappointed with the ride given to SANTINI yesterday who I felt was given far too much to do on the ground. I think it will be shown that he should have won yesterday.

May recommended wagers for the week were:-
2:10pm FOOTPAD - £10 win @ 5/4 - WON profit £12.50
2:50pm MINELLA DADDY - £5 eachway @ 20/1 - Lost £10.00
3:30pm FAUGHEEN - £5 eachway @ 6/1 - lost £10.00 
4:40pm MS PARFOIS - £5 eachway @ 7/1 - 2nd profit £2.00
5:30pm MISTER WHITAKER - £5 eachway @ 10/1 - WON profit £60.00 
2:10 RSA Novices Chase - ELEGANT ESCAPE - £5 eachway @ 10/1 - 3rd profit £5.00
2:50 Coral Cup handicap hurdle - TOPOFTHEGAME @ 14/1  - 2nd profit £6.25
and BURBANK @ 18/1 - both £2.50 eachway - Lost £5.00
1:30 MODUS - £5 win @ 10/1 - Lost £5.00
2:10 DADSINTROUBLE - £2.50 eachway @ 40/1 - Lost £5.00
and FORZA MILAN - £2.50 eachway @ 14/1 - Lost £5.00
3:30 WHOLESTONE - £5 eachway without Sam Spinner @ 14/1 - 3rd profit £12.50
5:30 MISSED APPROACH - £5 win @ 10/1 - WON profit £50.00
and SUGAR BARON £5 win @ 12/1 - Lost £5.00
1:30 REDICEAN - £5 eachway @ 6/1 - Lost £10.00
2:50 SANTINI - £10 win @ 4/1 - Lost £10.00
3:30 NATIVE RIVER - £10 win @ 5/1 - WON profit £50.00
Total Stakes this week = £135
Total Profit = £133.35
Return on Investment = 98.70%
Cost of this advice = Nothing, free. only your time - unless you want to make a donation which will be gratefully received.
Next stop - AINTREE

Friday, 16 March 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2018 - Day 4

Another successful day for the blog yesterday as MISSED APPROACH won at 10/1.  We went astray with tje first couple of races as Modus, and then both Forza Milan and Dadsintrouble ran poor races.  The JLT Novices Chase over 2m4f did not look a good renewal to me, and the same for the Ryanair Chase.  I had Un De Sceaux running to the same rating as when he won last year, but that was a weak race, and this years was not much better as Balko Des Flos merely stayed the trip better than the others. Possibly the performance of the day was PENHILL winning the Stayers Hurdle off a break of 11 months. My selection Wholestone ran well to be 3rd and whether you were on eachway at 22/1 or 14/1 without the fav (Sam Spinner) then the profit on that wager cancelled the loss on the earlier couple of races. LAURINA was devastating in the Mares Novices Hurdle as again Willie Mullins showed he has the best contacts in Europe for finding these top-class race mares.

1:30 Triumph Hurdle run over 2-miles & 1f
It is disappointing that this race has attracted such a small field of 9 runners. I do not have a handle on 4yo hurdle form and I think the fav Apple's Shakira is difficult to rate given he's won his last 2 races at odds of 1/7 and 1/10. In the Adonis Hurdle which is a good pointer to this race, I was very impressed with REDICEAN and his form looks rock solid. The Irish trainers have dominated the Festival so you have to give a close look to Stormy Ireland but this filly has not run since 16Dec, so you are betting on the reputation of the trainer Willie Mullins. The is nothing much between Mr Adjudicator and Farclas and, for me, this race should go to REDICEAN who looks a worthy eachway wager at 6/1 (available generally, 5th odds a place 1,2,3)

2:10 County Handicap hurdle run over 2m 1f
There are 27 runners in the Country Hurdle and if you are able to find the winner of this race you are a better man than me.

2:50 Albert Bartlett (Novices) Hurdle run over 3-mile
This could be a betting race. I was very impressed with Black Op in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle on Wednesday, and SANTINI beat Black Op here in January over 2m4f. Nicky Henderson also runs the 2nd-fav Chef Des Obeaux who was beaten by Santini when they met in December.  For me - SANTINI is the one they have to beat. The Irish horse Chris's Dream won an unsatisfactory prep race LTO and we just cannot get a handle on how good he is, but he will have to be very good to beat Santini.  At the odds, SANTINI is possibly the best value bet of the day at 4/1 (available generally)

3:30 Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase run over 3m 2f & 70 yards
This is the premier race of the meeting. This year the race looks to be wide open and that is shown by the 18 runners. At my ratings the best horse in the race with form this season is Our Duke (168) based on his defeat of RSA winner Presenting Percy LTO but jumping can let down Our Duke as it did in the Irish Gold Cup won by Edwulf.  That Irish Gold Cup form is the fly in the ointment as good yardstick Djakadam was 3rd but I've rated it through the runner-up Outlander (160) which puts Edwulf on 160 - however that was a terrific race and Edwulf  and Outlander could both be better than 160. Also in that race was Killultagh Vic having just his 3rd chase race and who looked the winner when falling at the last fence. He also could be 165+ but I do not like last fence fallers as that suggests they have little left in the tank. Might Bite is another who is tricky to fathom, and I think he's better than 160, but I'm just not sure he's 165+. He acts at Cheltenham and he has the potential to run a 170+ race which I think will be needed to win today. Native River ran to 169 on my ratings when he won the Welsh National in Dec-17.  He just held on that day so over this shorter trip it's possible that he can run a 170+ race. He's been aimed at the Gold Cup all season, and it's not impossible to win the race off just one seasonal run as he ran an excellent race LTO at Newbury.  I don't think Road To Respect is good enough and he needs to find 10lb of improvement to win this race. When Definitly Red won the Cotswold Chase here in January, he put himself in the Gold Cup picture but he may have been flattered that day and I'm not impressed with his speed figures, he comes across as more of a dour stayer. It would not surprise me if one of the front-3 in the betting won this race and of that front 3 the one I prefer is NATIVE RIVER and the Welsh National winner will have no problems on this ground. I think Might Bite may find this trip too much and Our Duke will need a clear round of jumping and I'm not sure he's up to it, and he also lost ground on the leaders after his mistake in the Irish Gold Cup. Of the others, Edwulf could well surprise in this race and is worth an eachway wager.

That's it for me - I'm off to the races!

1:30 REDICEAN - £5 eachway @ 6/1  (available generally, 5th odds a place 1,2,3)
2:10 No bet race
2:50 SANTINI - £10 win @ 4/1 (available generally)
3:30 NATIVE RIVER - £10 win @ 5/1 (Paddy Power)

We've had a great week on the blog, let's hope we go out on a high!

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2018 - Day 3

I do like the Thursday of the Cheltenham Festival, it ticks a lot of boxes for me: good graded races and good handicaps.
First, a look at my selections on Wednesday:-
I was right about SAMCRO, even tho' I did not advise a wager on him - he won with a tonne in-hand.
My selection ELEGANT ESCAPE ran a brave race to be 3rd securing the place-odds.
In the Coral Cup handicap hurdle, I came within a "neck" of finding the winner as TOPOFTHEGAME was caught on the run-in, again securing the place-odds.
No other wagers advised.  
So far this week, we are well ahead with 2 winners (also gave big mentions for SAMCRO, ALTIOR, and BUVEUR D'AIR who I advised at 4/1 back in September last year) and 3 placed wagers. 

1:30 JLT Novices Chase run over 2m4f
A cracking race to start the day with, and we have an open looking race with 10 runners declared. If Monalee wins Wednesdays RSA Chase, then Invitation Only will likely start the fav for the race, however he may lack the stamina for this race on this testing ground. I am more taken with the Paul Nicholls trained MODUS who has won all 3 of his completed chase races, and ran well in last years Coral Cup Hurdle. He handles Cheltenham well and looks value to me at 10/1 with Barry Geraghty in the saddle. The other well-fancied contender is Terrefort who has a lot of experience in France, and is unbeaten in 2 races in the UK for Nicky Henderson - however, both those races were going right-handed so will he handle Cheltenham? 

2:10 Pertemps Network final Handicap hurdle run over 3-mile
Possibly the toughest handicap hurdle of the season to solve.  The winner will need to stay 3-mile at a strong gallop. The Gordon Elliot trained Glenloe (11/2) is sure to have a strong following, but he lacks a finishing kick.  As such, he may far better with Delta Work (12/1) who was well fancied LTO and has Davy Russell in the saddle, but he is only a 5yo and this is a race for experienced horses. Forza Milan (14/1) looks the sort that has been aimed at this race all season by Jonjo O'Neill. For a long-shot, the answer may be Dadsintrouble (40/1); he ran in the conditional jockeys' hurdle over 2m4f last year, but that trip was too short. Over 3-mile at Aintree NTO, he ran a cracker to be 3rd off OR136 on ground quicker than he'd prefer. Sent chasing earlier this season, he didn't take to it, and ran a fair race back over hurdles in February to qualify for this.  I will be taking on the market leaders with FORZA MILAN and DADSINTROUBLE.   

2:50 Ryanair Chase run over 2m4f & 166 yards
Just 6 line-up for this race (Douvan races in the QMCC on Wednesday), and it has the potential to be a classic.  The fav is last years winner Un De Sceaux and he is sure to take some beating. However, I think the horse to do it is CUE CARD who showed LTO at Ascot over a similar trip that there is still fire in the belly with a performance that would have won this race last year. Sub Lieutenant was easily beaten in this race last year, and I will be very surprised if Balko De Flo gets close to winning this. This trip is probably the best one for Cloudy Dream, but he's another who will need to find 10lb of improvement to win this. The horse likely to follow the leading pair home - or take advantage should they flop - is Frodon, he loves Cheltenham and is at his best here over this trip, and the more mud flying the better for him. However, for me it has to be CUE CARD who will likely make good use of his stamina and lead all the way.

3:30 Sunbet Stayers' Hurdle run over 3-mile
There is nothing between the best of these on official ratings with 4lb covering Sam Spinner, Supasundae, Unowhatimeanharry, Yanworth, The New One and Wholestone. It is unlikely the winner will not come from this bunch and on this year's form the most likely winner is Sam Spinner based on his run LTO but can he make-all on this ground over this C&D? Given the odds and that he acts so well at Cheltenham and is a model of consistency, WHOLESTONE at 22/1 with Paddy Power (5th odds a place 1,2,3) has to be value. The ground is a worry for Supasundae, I think Unowhatimeanharry has had his day, Yanworth needs to step up in performance and prove he stays this trip at this level as does The New One.  I will be taking 14/1 eachway about WHOLESTONE without Sam Spinner with Bet365.

4:10 Stable Plate Handicap Chase run over 2m4f & 166 yards
This looks an incredibly tough handicap to fathom and sometimes you have to give a race a miss.  I could spend most of the morning looking at the form for this race and be no nearer finding the winner. 

4:50 Mares Novices hurdle run over 2-mile & 179 yards
I'm not going to bother with this race as it looks another Willie Mullins benefit race - as he's the only trainer who can find these decent race-mares - and odds-on LAURINA will be exceptionally hard to beat if she is as good as expected.  Maria's Benefit is the only possible opposition to the Irish-trained mare and at least she comes here with an excellent race CV. 

5:30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap (amateur riders) run over 3m2f
This race is more my cup of tea! There are 2 horses that I have followed this season that both run well LTO and come here with plenty of confidence: MISSED APPROACH (10/1 generally) and SUGAR BARON (12/1 William Hill).  Katie Walsh rode Mall Dini in this race last year, and rides Sugar Baron today. Squouateur comes into this race heading the market with Mall Dini as he did last year (unseated then) and I'm not sure he's shown enough decent form to be there.  I'm going to split my stake with a £5 win wager on both MISSED APPROACH and SUGAR BARON.

1:30 MODUS - £5 win @ 10/1 (Bet365 and others)
2:10 DADSINTROUBLE - £2.50 eachway @ 40/1 (Paddy Power 5th odds 1,2,3,4,5,6)
and FORZA MILAN - £2.50 eachway @ 14/1 (Bet365)
2:50 - no bet race
3:30 WHOLESTONE - £5 eachway without Sam Spinner @ 14/1 (Bet365)
4:10 - no bet race
4:50 - no bet race
5:30 MISSED APPROACH @ 10/1 and SUGAR BARON @ 12/1 - both £5 win

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2018 - Day 2

Look-back at Day 1
I was right (in my opinion) to have my money on Kalashnikov but he was beaten fair'n'square by easily the best horse in the race, Summerville Boy.
What more can you say about FOOTPAD - I said the horse should be trading at 2/5, the early 5/4 was a gift. Could be the Gold Cup winner next March.
My shortlist of 5 for the 3m1f handicap chase produced the 1st Coo Star Sivola; 3rd Vintage Clouds, and 5th Singlefarmpayment.
Buveur D'Air won, but he was indeed a bit "ring-rusty"; Faugheen was not the horse he once was, and I was right about Mick Jazz - came in 3rd at 25/1.
A cracking run from MS PARFOIS, I thought she had it jumping the final fence - £5 eachway @ 7/1 returns £3.75 profit 
And another winner with MISTER WHITAKER - £5 eachway @ 10/1 returns £62.50 profit.
Overall, about £59 profit on stakes of £50 on the day.
1:30pm Ballymore Novices Hurdle over 2m5f
This race hangs on the ability of SAMCRO, is he the real thing or not.  My opinion is that he's a good horse but he does not hold such an advantage over this opposition as to make him an odds-on chance. If he wins, then we've missed a small profit, but if (as likely) he doesn't then by opposing him we may end up on a good priced winner.  The Mullins-trained Next Generation is the obvious next choice mainly as the horse looks every inch quality.  On a line through stablemate Duc Des Genievres, there is nothing between Samcro and Next Generation. Of the others, only Black Op looks like getting close to the Irish pair, but on heavy ground we are unlikely to see the best of him. A race best watched unless you want to oppose the fav in which case NEXT GENERATION is the way to go

2:10pm RSA Novices Chase over 3-mile
A select field of just 10 runners, but we should see a top-class performance from the winner who will likely have to run to over 160+ to win this, maybe 165+.  This race usually goes to a horse bred to be a chaser, and anything that had a half-decent hurdling career should be discounted.  That means Ballyoptic is out of consideration. I do not think Al Boum Photo, Bonbon Au Miel, or Allysson Monterg have enough racing experience, and Black Corton may have too much and little improvement left to find. Dounikos is interesting and should improve for the step-up to 3 miles. Full Irish is outclassed. Monalee has the perfect profile apart from being a very good novice hurdler coming 2nd in the Albert Bartlett last March over 3-mile. Also in that race was Elegant Escape who has improved now chasing and looks an exciting prospect. And what of Presenting Percy? Personally, I find he is tricky to assess but he could well be the best chaser in the field. At the odds, I cannot split Monalee and Presenting Percy and so I'm going for the youngest horse in the race, ELEGANT ESCAPE who has more experience than the other 6yo in the race - Al Boum Photo - and could well find enough improvement to ensure he wins this.  There is lots of 10/1 available and that looks great value.

2:50pm Coral Cup handicap hurdle over 2m5f
An exceptionally tough race to crack, but it's not impossible. I think you can focus on those with 11st or more to carry, and which are also LTO winners. Sometimes a horse just jumps out at you when you look at the form, and such as horse is the Paul Nicholls trained TOPOFTHEGAME.  He won LTO over a trip a shade under 3-mile and is one of the only horses in the race with winning form at that trip. He has a bit to find with the Henderson trained William Henry based on when they met at Kempton in January in the Lanzarote Hurdle, but this race could be a real slog with stamina and guts at a premium. This is a race that Nicky Henderson likes to win and he has 4 entries: William Henry, Burbank, Fixe Le Kap, and Stowaway Magic. Of that quartet, the one I like the look of is BURBANK who ran 4th in the "Ballymore" last year and has been brought along this season very gently and allowed to strengthen.  His best run this season was his latest in January at Ascot, and he has the class to go close in this handicap. Those are my pair to take on the rest: TOPOFTHEGAME and BURBANK.

3:30pm Queen Mother Champion Chase over 2-miles
Last season, even though just a novice, ALTIOR was the best 2-mile chaser we saw at Cheltenham, and he confirmed his superiority over his elders when winning at Sandown in April.  The only possibility of Altior being beaten is if Douvan is back to his best, but that is a very speculative gamble.  That Willie Mullins has maintained an entry for MIN suggests he considers his 2nd-string has a chance of making a race of it, and MIN is a class horse who wasn't far behind Altior when they met in the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the 2016 Festival. If I can get longer odds than 9/2 about MIN then I will be having an eachway wager on the horse; but the race looks to be Altior's.

4:10 Cross Country Chase run over 3m6f
Not my favourite race and not one that should be run at the Cheltenham Festival. Only 16 go to post, and now that this race is no longer a handicap most of them have next to no chance. CAUSE OF CAUSES won this last year and, but for meeting the well handicapped Spring Heeled in the Kim Muir Chase in 2014, he could have won a race at each of the last 4 festivals.  The race is dominated by John P McManus owned runners; along with Cause Of Causes (5/2) he also has Auvergnat (9/1), Cantlow (16/1), and Josies Orders (6/1). The only horse that I think is capable of giving Cause Of Causes a race is TIGER ROLL (11/2) who won the 4-mile NH Novice Chase last year, and is being aimed at the Grand National by trainer Gordon Elliot.  He ran here over the Cross-Country course in December and that was very much a schooling run, and that he's back for another go suggests we will see a much improved effort over that run.

4:50pm Fred Winter Juvenile handicap hurdle run over 2-mile & 87 yards
We are likely to see a full field of 22 go to post for this race, and only 13lb covers the entire field in this handicap. There is not much form to go on and that shows in the betting with the market leader as I write (Tuesday lunchtime) being Nube Negra (7/1), with Act Of Valour (8/1) next. Personally, I'd be tempted to avoid horses that have had a flat-racing campaign prior to going hurdling as they may not have the guts to slog this race out. Those that catch my eye are: Espirit De Somoza (OR135) - his rating looks a bit high, but he's bred to do well; 
Embole (O129) - showed a lot of improvement LTO to beat an odds-on rival on soft ground;
Eureu Du Boulay (OR129) - won over 2m2f in France LTO in November and makes UK debut in this race;
The King Of May (OR128) - highly tried on UK debut in February, could be interesting contender;
Grand Sancy (OR127) - outclassed in "Adonis" hurdle LTO, and this looks more his level.
Eragon De Chanay (OR126) - won in a canter on Saturday so is race-fit and in top form.  

1:30 Ballymore Novices hurdle - no bet
2:10 RSA Novices Chase - ELEGANT ESCAPE - £5 eachway @ 10/1 (available generally)
2:50 Coral Cup handicap hurdle - TOPOFTHEGAME @ 14/1 and BURBANK @ 18/1 - both £2.50 eachway.
3:30 QMCC - no bet
4:10 Cross Country Chase - no bet
4:50 Fred Winter Juvenile h'cap hurdle - no bet
5:30 Champion Bumper (NH Flat race) - no bet