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Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog 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 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.


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advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

What a busy day! Saturday 1st December

Today we have one of the busiest, and best days of jump racing, outside of Boxing Day. We have 4 meetings at Newbury, Newcastle, Doncaster and Bangor, and some of the best races of the jumps season.  On days like today it pays to pick and choose your targets - don't try and find too many winners!
For the feature race at Newbury, the Ladbrokes Trophy (handicap) Chase at 3:00pm, I assessed the form earlier in the week and tipped THOMAS PATRICK when he was 6/1. There were 23 runners then and there are just 12 now going to post and Thomas Patrick is the 7/2 fav. I think he has a great chance and I'm happy we took the 6/1 earlier this week. The obvious danger is the 2nd-fav Elegant Escape, but his best form appears to be on right-handed tracks. Ms Parfois is an obvious danger if she comes back today in the same form as last season. One who could be a fly in the ointment is American, as he has looked like a top-class chaser at times.
At Newcastle, they hold their premier jumps meeting of the season with the feature race being the "Fighting Fifth" hurdle, a Grade 1 event over 2-miles which has attracted a top-class field worthy of the Champion Hurdle next March. While much of the attention will be focused on Buveur D'Air and Samcro, I am interested in the potential of SUMMERVILLE BOY who never stopped progressing last season and could be a lot better than his OR156 rating.
The "Rehearsal" Chase over 3-miles later in the afternoon looks very competitive having attracted a top-class field of handicappers.  The 7yo Sharp Response could be the answer as his win at Carlisle over 3m2f in October marked him out as a progressive horse and I'm prepared to forgive his last run at Cheltenham.
There's nothing at Doncaster that I can advise having a wager on, as the good ground there - obviously the rain the rest of the country has suffered missed Doncaster - has meant that there are quite a few non-runners and it looks a day for fav's there.
At Bangor, the 3-mile handicap chase at 1:30pm may have some value. The money seems to be going on Wandrin Star, who has been improving with every run, but I'm expecting BORDEAUX BILL to improve on his recent seasonal debut and come on a bundle. Bordeaux Bill showed he was a promising novice chaser in the making when beating Sharp Response (who runs at Newcastle today) last December, and he could be very generous odds in this as it looks a fairly weak race on paper.
Back at Newbury, I will be eagerly watching the racing there and the reappearance of SANTINI who could be a star chaser in the making.

That's it for today, my selections are:
Bangor 1:30pm BORDEAUX BILL,  £10 win @ 4/1 (available generally)
Newbury 3:00pm THOMAS PATRICK - wager placed on Wednesday £10 win @ 6/1

Friday, 30 November 2018

Friday 30th November 2018

We have a great day of jump racing today with the main meeting at Newbury, and a supporting jumps meeting at Doncaster. At this point, I have to ask why is Doncaster staging the "Kellys of Cornwall" handicap hurdle? Surely, Exeter would be a better venue for this race seeing as there isn't a racecourse in Cornwall?

One race at Doncaster that I'm interested in is the 1:40pm Class 3 handicap chase over 2m3f, as the 8yo Katgary runs his first chase since reverting to hurdling 12-months ago. He's dropped from a rating of OR140 to OR132 today, and this horse was only beaten a length by San Benedeto here at Doncaster (over an extended 2-mile) on soft ground in March 2017 when in receipt of just 8lb.  A repeat of that form would see him win today with ease, and he's currently 10/1 with Paddy Power (9/1 elsewhere).  With 4 of his best-5 races (on RPR ratings) over fences, he's a better chaser than hurdler, and he could be in with an outstanding chance in this.  The fav Nightfly looks to need to improve to win again from his revied OR130 rating, and Buster Thomas looks a bit one-paced, having been left in a clear lead by a final fence faller when winning his only chase from 8 attempts.  KATGARY is definitely worth an eachway wager in this.
The Newbury card today will be a great place to fill the notebook with pointers for the rest of the season. The novice hurdle that opens the day at 12:10pm has been won 5 times in the past 10 years by Nicky Henderson, and he's sent some good horses here to win this. That he hasn't a runner on the race this year is interesting.
The 2-mile novice (handicap) chase at 12:45pm looks a competitive affair, and the race-fav is the Henderson-trained Kaputana who won his recent chase debut at Kempton. However, as a hurdler, he wasn't as good as Knocknanuss but that horse fell on his chase debut before winning NTO (albeit the race-fav fell). One that I expect to be a decent novice chaser is Clondaw Castle, but he's having his chase debut today – if he wins today then he will be good, but this looks a tough ask for a debut. The horse that could be good value is AL SHAHIR, who raced over 2m4f on his chase debut and didn't see the trip out and this 2-mile trip will be much more to this front-runners taste.
The 2m4f handicap chase is tricky to assess as most of these look to be on ratings that are higher than what they should be able to win from! There's no way I can support Beggar's Wishes on OR152, which is 2lb higher than ASO on OR150.  The 8yo ASO has not run for over 12 months but when he was last seen he was a quality chaser over this trip and he does go well from a break.
The 3-mile Grade 2 hurdle at 3:00pm has a very strong field, and the fav Wholestone has the best recent form. But I think he's vulnerable at this trip – he's better at 2m4f-2m6f – and it could be that we will see a return to the winners enclosure for SAM SPINNER. He was absolutely top-class last season, when winning at Ascot on 23rd December, and it's likely the tatics adopted that stopped him winning at the Cheltenham Festival. Unless someone happens to that pair, there is no way I can see Unowhatimeanharry winning as he's about 10lb (or more) below his best nowadays and was hammered by Sam Spinner in that Ascot race.  Odds of 3/1 about SAM SPINNER look very good to me, as I'd have him the fav for this.
Just the one wager today: SAM SPINNER, £10 win @ 3/1 (available generally), but I won't put anyone off having a sneaky eachway wager on Katgary at Doncaster.
I'm happy with my selection for the Ladbrokes Trophy (handicap) Chase run at Newbury tomorrow, we took the 6/1 about THOMAS PATRICK earlier in the week, and with only 13-runners going to post now, he's best-priced at 4/1.  My only regret is not taking the 40/1 about West Approach as I think he will likely finish 4th. There is still 33/1 (5th odds a place 1,2,3) but he will need some luck on his side to finish in the front-3. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Saturday's Ladbrokes Trophy (handicap) Chase

This Saturday we have the top-class Ladbrokes Trophy (handicap) Chase at Newbury, and at first glance it looks to be a competitive affair with 4 of the 23 entries vying for favouritism at about 6/1 - being Elegant Escape, Thomas Patreick, Kemboy and Ms Parfois. 
When there is competition like this, there is usually value to be found, and I'm on the look-out for it. Also, in a race which a history like the Ladbrokes Trophy (which used to be the Hennessey Gold Cup and has been run at Newbury since 1957) there are plenty of statistical pointers to help you find the eventual winner.
For instance, since 1999 (that's 19 years) only one horse has won the race aged 9yr s or older and that was the mighty Denman when he won the race for the 2nd time in 2009.  To put that performance in perspective, Denman was not only the only horse other than the great Arkle to win the race twice but, just like Arkle, he was a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner.
Ask yourself, of the 23 entries aged 9yo or older, how many have the potential to win a Cheltenham Gold Cup?  How about last year's  Ladbrokes winner Total Recall - no, he fell 4-out in the Gold Cup last March when not looking like being able to trouble the eventual 1st-2.
I think we can safely omit those aged 9yo or older from our form assessment, and that reduces the field of 23 down to 14. 
In my opinion, it is important for a horse to have had a preparatory race prior to contesting this, and (as such) I'm prepared to overlook those that have yet to run since 1st May: that is Al Boum Photo (off 221 days); American (off 260 days); Invitation Only (off 221 days); Monbeg Notorius (off 221 days); Beware The Bear (off 224 days); Ms Parfois (off 232 days); and Allysson Monterg (off 220 days). That reduces the likely winning group to just 7 runners.
They are: Kemboy, Black Corton, Elegant Escape, Dingo Dollar, Thomas Patrick, Flying Angel and West Approach.    
Kemboy is a classy chaser, and although he's not a novice (he won a chase in January at odds of 2/5) he's only had 7 chase races, and 5 of those races were over a trip of 2m5f or under. He fell at the 1st fence in the Irish Grand National in April, and then won a "facile" race over 3-mile at Limerick beating just 4 rivals, the 2nd-placed horse being the OR144 rated Tombstone who has never won a race beyond 2m4f.  For me, there is absolutely no proof that Kemboy can stay the 3m2f trip yet alone win. Not so Black Corton who showed he's a capable of staying this sort of trip but whether he can off OR157 when he is prone to making jumping errors (and he will not have the luxury of being able to recover on Saturday with so many other runners) is debatable.
Elegant Escape beat Black Corton fair'n'square as a novice chase twice last season and he's weighted to maintain that advantage. He won his seasonal debut over 3-mile at Sandown beating Thomas Patrick but unfortunately has a 4lb penalty for that win which means Thomas Patrick now holds the advantage in the handicap. In my opinion, THOMAS PATRICK is ahead of the handicap and he's also likely to really enjoy the rain-softened ground on Saturday, and he has no stamina worries. It is also likely that he will have Richard Johnson riding.
Dingo Dollar had a spin over hurdles to get him race-fit for this but the Ladbrokes Trophy is a huge step-up in grade for him, and I feel he is being thrown-in the deep end. Personally, I don't think he's shown himself to be an OR148 chaser and while he has the potential this trace is a big ask.  According to the Racing Post, in the past decade there have been 52 runners with a rating below OR146 with no winners, so while Flying Angel is highly thought of at home, will he be good enough on OR142, and will he be able to stay this trip? Finally we have West Approach also on OR142 and he could be one for the places as he ran well at Cheltenham to be 3rd over 3m1f on the 27th October and he is (was ) a very classy 3-mile hurdler.  

For me, the most likely winner is THOMAS PATRICK and the 6/1 on offer looks fair value.  I will be looking on Saturday morning for a longer-odds selection to steal some each-way place value, and the 40/1 on West Approach may be worth taking, 

Antepost advice:

Ladbrokes Trophy (handicap) Chase @ Newbury on Saturday 1st December
THOMAS PATRICK - £10 win @ 6/1 (available with Bet365, William Hill, Paddy Power etc)

Monday, 26 November 2018

Thoughts on the King George on Boxing Day

We came close on Saturday to pulling off a decent couple of wagers.  The main selection Bishops Road drifted in the betting from 5/1 out to 13/2 and I would hope that readers took advantage and placed an each-way wager at the longer odds.  I thought this 3m4f handicap chase was weak beforehand, and that proved correct as there were several fallers early-on and on for the final half of the race it was really only between Bishops Road and Red Infantry. I expected this marathon trip to bring out the best in Bishops Road, but I was not expecting an improved performance from the eventual winner RED INFANTRY who stuck well to his task and couple prove useful to follow over this sort of trip this season. We were unlucky to meet an unexposed chaser in Red Infantry who was winning his 3rd chase race from 7 runs.  Back in 4th, Two Smokin Barrels ran like he needed the race, and we can (and should) see a marked improvement in him next time.
In the Betfair Chase, I was right to favour Native River over Might Bite, and thought I was on the winner as the field went down the back straight for the final time.  But when eventual winner BRISTOL DE MAI took up the lead 4-out there was only going to be one winner.  This was a career-best from Bristol De Mai, although it's difficult to rate his win in the same race last season as Cue Card threw-in the towel  on that occasion and BDM won by a distance. However, this winning run was still about 5lb shy of the Gold Cup winning performance from Native River in March, and Native River also ran a higher-rated performance when winning the Welsh National. Whether BDM can improve on this and be a contender at Cheltenham in March is debatable, as he was unable to cope with Definitly Red in the "Cotswold" Chase there last January.  There's talk of him going for the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day  but, if he were mine, I'd be sending him to Chepstow (where he won a hurdle race) and going for the Welsh National as he looks to have abundant stamina, loves the mud (and it's almost guaranteed to be soft/heavy there) and carrying a big weight does not seem to slow him down.
Before I leave this race, there was a much-improved performance from THISTLECRACK in 3rd and if he can improve for this run then he is a very live contender for the King George, especially as he's won the race before.  The odds of 8/1 quoted though, are very skinny.  Better value in that race may come in supporting a winner on Saturday at Ascot – POLITOLOGUE. I rated this win in the 2m5f Christy 1965 Chase a career-best from him and shows that he is one of the best chasers in training at the moment. He's raced twice before at Kempton winning both times very easily and Although he's not raced at 3-miles before, it should not prove a problem. I don't think Kempton will suit Native River who I think will miss the race and go to Newbury for the "Denman" in February, and the jury has to be out now on Might Bite after Saturday as he seems to have an "issue". Again, I think the track won't suit Bristol De Mai, and Altior will be most unlikely to go for the race. Which leaves the unbeaten chaser Waiting Patiently: a winner at Kempton and Ascot last season he showed himself to be in the top-drawer when beating Cue Card in February. The worry with this horse though, is will he turn up on Boxing Day?    On form, there is not much between POLITOLOGUE and Waiting Patiently, and with other horses in the race looking either outclassed or unsuited by the course, the 10/1 about POLITOLOGUE (Bet365 and William Hill) looks generous. 

Antepost advice:
King George VI Chase @ Kempton on Boxing Day
POLITOLOGUE - £10 win @ 10/1 (available with Bet365 and William Hill)