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daily insight into the sport of Horseracing and
Record of the blog selections for the 2013-14 Jumps Season:-
Profit = £189.04 from 76 wagers
staked = £985 (an average of £12.96 per race/wager)
19.19% return on investment
advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Cracking handicap chase at Market Rasen yesterday

The late September meeting staged by Market Rasen is always a welcome curtain opener to the season to come. The feature race of the meeting was the handicap chase at 2:50pm over an extended 2m6f.

I thought the morning race-fav Houston Dynimo looked vulnerable off OR128 and, as the race panned-out, he did. He was unable to get on terms with the leading pair and he's going to struggle off this rating.

There were a couple of joint fav's in Ballincurrig and Attaglance.  I thought the trip would test the stamina of Ballinacurrig, and he's not looked the type to win when fresh before. As such, I'm prepared to forgive him this race.  I'm not sure about the 8yo Attaglance who remains a maiden chaser, altho' he could well find 7-10lbs of improvement for the run if he comes out again in the the next 3 or 4 weeks. That said, I reckon he'd be best at a trip shorter than this.

The race winner was MART LANE who is a horse who looks smart on his good days - but they don't seem to come around regularly. He won his seasonal debut in Oct-2013 and then won a cracker of a handicap in December, but then failed to complete 3 of his next 4 races. As such, he came into yesterdays race on OR134 which was only 2lb higher than his rating when winning in December (after which he was rated OR142) so, on the proviso that he returned to form, he looked well-in yesterday - and so it proved.

The runner-up the 6yo Dursey Sound, continues on the upgrade, but perhaps found this trip stretching his stamina, as it was run at a good pace throughout. He may find 2m4f his best trip as a chaser.

The one that I thought looked one for the notebook was already on my alert list - FOX APPEAL. His trainer Emma Lavelle hasn't had a winner since April, and so I thought the horse may need the run. However, with 2 fences to jump he looked the most likely winner he was going so well. Unfortunately, he found nothing when asked for a winning effort, and I can see this horse running 7-10lb better NTO. As such, he's on my radar for the 2m4f Class 2 handicap chase run at Cheltenham at the Showcase meeting on 18th October (won last year by Johns Spirit).

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Alert list review complete and we're ready to go!

Yesterday, I completed the review of my alert list which I'd carried forward from the 2013-14 jumps season. Approximately 220 horses (not totally sure, as I didn't count them when I started the exercise) have been whittled down to a long-list of 143.

Now comes the review of recent results during the summer months to see if there are any further additions that can be made.  It is unlikely that there will be many, as the summer jumping game is centred mainly on the ground being quicker in the summer than the winter months. So, summer horses tend to be put away for the winter to re-emerge the following April.

I'll be honest, this list looks very exciting as there are several who are now considered handicappers that could develop into Grade 1 contenders for the 2015 Cheltenham Festival.

For instance, there are bullish noises coming from the Henderson stable in Lambourn about Sprinter Sacre, but the horse hasn't even done a gallop yet (according to Henderson). Something went wrong with the horse 12-months ago and connections have tried to blame an intermittent heart condition but - when nothing untoward could be found (despite extensive testing) - you have to wonder what the problem was. Although I loved watching Sire De Grugy sweep-up all the 2-mile chases including the QM Champion Chase at last March's Cheltenham Festival, I've been very realistic in my assessment of those performances and I find it difficult to rate that horse better than 164. As such, I see the Champion Chase crown being up for grabs.

A similar scenario exists with the Cheltenham Gold Cup, in my opinion. The latest running was a scrappy affair, with the winner Lord Windermere staying-on best of all having looked like being pulled-up when out-paced about a mile out. The ratings for the race have Lord Windermere at RPR170 and his official rating was raised from OR152 before the race to OR165 after the result was known. Personally, I find that hard to believe given the proximity of some fairly ordinary staying chasers, for example The Giant Bolster - who has been a consistent 160-162 performer since winning at Cheltenham in January 2012.  Did, for instance, The Giant Bolster run a better performance last March than when he ran 2nd to Synchronised in the 2012 Gold Cup? Personally, I think not. And when you look at the results of the past few Cheltenham Gold Cups (with the benefit of hindsight) you have to wonder if some of those prodigious ratings, given out like confetti, were actually earned.

Getting back to the alert list, I've stripped out nearly every horse aged 9yo (ie, born in 2005) or older from the list as I don't believe that horses "improve" after that. My basic premise is that horses stop improving at about 6yo when they become fully mature and physically developed. If they have "class" they will already have shown it on the track. What I try and do is spot that class before the handicapper does, and "ride the wave" of  handicap improvement. So, in my opinion, all those 143 horses on my alert list have shown they are at least 5lb, but more like 7-10lb ahead of the handicapper and - in some cases - I reckon are about 20-25lb ahead. Also, the horses on the list have shown a will to win. It is pointless finding a good horse with tons of ability, that refuses to put its head in front of the leader. Regular punters will all know horses like that, those that flatter to decieve.

So then, onwards and upwards.

Good luck from Wayward Lad

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Preparation for the 2014-15 jumps season gathers pace

This month I've been spending plenty of time reviewing my alert list from last season, deleting those who are past their best or have not developed as I had hoped, or have just been caught by the handicapper. So far, I've looked at over 160 horses from last seasons final list, and trimmed about 60 from the list - which currently holds 102 firm candidates. I've another 55 to review so, if the "third out" continues, I'll have a final list strength of about 140 horses on the alert list.

Some of those may not run this season, as I've come across a few on the list that didn't run in 2013-14. Has anyone any news of PENNY MAX or REGINALDINHO - both were very progressive horses when last seen on the track, but never ran in 2013-14; in fact we haven't seen Penny  Max since 1st Jan 2012 when the gelding won a 3-mile chase at Exeter.

I've also been working on a new venture for the 2014-15 jumps season, involving the Cheltenham Festival. I'm a bit in two minds with this one: whether to go online with it as a "sister" blog to this one, or to create a stand-alone website.  The website has distinct advantages as I can use it as a platform for gathering income from advertisers etc. But I'm also aware that one of the issues that I have when browsing horseracing sites on the internet, is the predominance of "flashing" advertising. I can't stand it, and if anything makes me quickly leave a website it's flashing adverts from a bookmaker containing a sexist theme.

Anyway. Enough of that. I want readers to leave this page today with something juicy to ponder over. I have never thought that horses can "come back" and return to their previous level of form after suffering an injury of some sort. As such, as much as I'd like it to happen, it is wishful thinking expecting Sprinter Sacre to come back this season and win the Champion Chase next March. Further, if you examine the form of SIRE DE GRUGY you cannot possibly consider that he's run anywhere near his OR172 rating. The Racing Post rated his QMCC win at RPR173 but to obtain that rating, the runner-up SOMERSBY had to be given a near career-best rating of RPR167 to justify it. As Somersby had spent most of 2012 and 2013 in decline - his official rating dropping from OR170 to OR161 - is it difficult to accept that this horse has suddenly found the best form of his life again. Sure enough, he was soundly beaten NTO at Punchestown. The rest of the 2014 QMCC field were not up to the usual standard expected, and so I think Sire De Grugy is there to take on.

There was one 2-mile chaser who I thought looked a treat throughout the season, but who missed the Cheltenham Festival and then won a very decent race at Aintree in April - BALDER SUCCES. He never stopped improving last season, and his Aintree win marked him out as a novice chaser out of the top drawer. He was undone by tactics at Punchestown in May, and probably should have won that race too. On my personal ratings, I have BALDER SUCCES just 2lb below Sire De Grugy so, given some improvement in jumping fluency and technique, I can see the young pretender giving the reigning champion a run for his money.

Latest odds for the QMCC in March 2015 have BALDER SUCCES at 14/1 (Stan James, William Hill, Paddy Power, Coral, Betfred) and with the "Arkle" form also looking a bit dodgy (has a winner come out of that race yet?) there seems to be a distinct lack of quality 2-mile chasers about. I expect trainer Alan King will have planned a campaign similar to that of his 2007 QMCC winner Voy Por Ustedes and we'll likely see a reappearance of BALDER SUCCES at Sandown in December for the Tingle Creek. A win in that race, and it is not unlikely, and BALDER SUCCES would be the new QMCC favorite. I'm on at £6 eachway and £13 win, that's a total of £25 staked at 14/1. A "place" returns £27, and a win returns £312.

Good luck from Wayward Lad

Monday, 8 September 2014

2013-14 Results updated

As you can see from the "header", the results for the 2013-14 Jumps season have been updated. Overall, the blog ended in profit again for the season maintaining the 100% record since I commenced blogging. The result wasn't as good as the 2012-13 season - but that was a bit special - even so, you cannot snub a profit when it comes to gambling on the horses.

The season started well with a good win on Sporting Boy, who was then not seen again until the following April. There were some great winning wagers during the season, most notably on JOHN'S SPIRIT at 14/1 on the morning of his seasonal debut; and on MIDNIGHT APPEAL at 25/1 on his seasonal debut at Bangor. That lovable rogue HANDY ANDY gave us the right run-around, having jumped the final fence at Cheltenham and being left about 6-lengths clear, he managed to somehow lose the race and wasn't even placed when our selection at 16/1. Overlooked next-time-out over C&D, he duly won at decent odds.

We had a few near misses: FOXCUB was well clear when falling at the final flight when carrying our money at odds of 10/1; and MERRION SQUARE went down by a neck at odds of 7/1.  And there were a few that got away: such as RENARD who I knew was a handicap snip when he started-off the season on OR129 and sure enough he was, being rated OR144 after winning a couple of chases at Chepstow.

Having looked at my results for the past couple of years, it appears what I'm best at is spotting ability early and making a note of it for my horse alert list (which I run thru' Easyodds). I'm currently hard at work filtering thru' my alert list taking out the older "exposed" horses and those which haven't fulfilled their potential. I'm also updating the list with a few newcomers whose performances, when looked at in hindsight, were possibly better than anyone thought at the time. For instance, I'm having an antepost wager for the Cheltenham Festival before the end of this week on a horse that is currently 14/1 for his race.