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.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The Bobby Renton Chase at Wetherby

What I enjoy about jump racing are these good quality races that are run mid-week at the provincial tracks. Wetherby is in West Yorkshire right in the centre of the "golden triangle" formed by the cities of York, Leeds and Harrogate. In my opinion, the course provides a proper test of the chaser, it being a flat, left-hand oval with no open-ditches in the four fences in the straight that may catch out a tiring horse.

Today's Bobby Renton Handicap Chase at 3:45pm is run over 2m3f and has attracted 7 runners, headed by the fav Delusionofgrandeur trained locally by Sue Smith, who also runs Straidnahanna in this race. Delutionofgrandeur has won over 2m4f as a novice hurdler, but he's never run over a trip this short as a chaser, in fact his last win was at this track in March over 3-miles. He could do well at this trip, but in my opinion he will be at his best at trips of 3-mile and further. And the same can be said for Straidnahanna who won last season over 3m6f, although he has a good cruising speed and he could get into a good rhythm.

When I looked at this race yesterday afternoon, I was immediately drawn to Monbeg River who ran 4 times last season without winning, but with a lot of promise. Unfortunately, he was brought-down when racing over 2m4f at Aintree in December, and he ended the campaign when racing over today's C&D in January.  That was thought to be run on ground too soft for him, and he was beaten 6-lengths into 3rd. A repeat of that effort should see him in the frame, and any improvement will make him hard to beat. The biggest issue for me is that his trainer Martin Todhunter has such a poor strike-rate, and his stats for Wetherby are very poor: just 3 wins from 42 runners in the past 5 years.

Due to the support for Monbeg River, the odds on After Hours have lengthened to 4/1, and this 8yo looks to be on an attractive rating of OR120 considering he improved with every run last season without winning; coming home 2nd in 5 of his last 6 races. He jumps well, runs prominently, and should have no problem with the trip; probably his only issue could be the ground as he "may" want it a bit softer.

The French import Ballotin has his first run for Philip Hobbs, and this is his only runner today - Hobbs has a impressive 28% strike-rate here! Ballotin chased home subsequent Triumph Hurdle winner Peace And Co in June 2014, after which Peace And Co was sold on to Nicky Henderson.  Ballotin then chased home Mick Jazz who is now a OR144 hurdler with Gordon Elliot. When chasing in France, Ballotin beat Buttercup who has since moved to Venetia Williams and ran-up a hat-trick of chase wins earlier this year and is now rated OR126. I've no doubt that Ballotin will be fit today and the ground and trip are perfect for him. His rating of OR139 looks a bit steep though, and while his amateur rider will take off 7lb he will need to be at the top of his game in this race.

I like the look of Katgary and he goes very well off a break - a repeat of his run in March (after a 9 month break) when 2nd to San Benedeto would see him hard to beat today - but I have no confidence in his amateur rider Liam Quinlan who has had only 3 rides in the UK in the past 5 seasons, and this is his first for Pauline Robson. 

Finally, we have Definite Future who is sent here by trainer Kerry Lee who has only sent 7 runners here in the past 5 seasons from her base in Hereford, and 3 have won. She has also booked jockey Jamie Moore and that suggests they mean business. This trip and ground will be perfect, LTO over 2-miles was too short - and a repeat of his run at Worcester in June off OR132 (he runs off OR137 today) will see him go close. Currently 10/1, DEFINITE FUTURE certainly looks the value in what is a tricky race as while his latest run may have been over an insufficient trip, being only 30 days ago it means he is proven race-fit.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

When to bet with confidence

No luck for Bigbadjohn on Saturday as, despite going well and and occupying a prominent position, he clouted the 6th fence and catapulted his jockey out of the saddle. 

The Chepstow meeting is a favourite of trainer Paul Nicholls, and he won the opening hurdle race there of the 2-day meeting with his 4yo Dynamite Dollars, and then followed-up with the mare If You Say Run in the 2nd race on the days card, and he was unlucky to bump into the well-handicapped Silver Streak in the 4yo 2-mile limited handicap otherwise his runner Dolos would have made it 3 wins on the day for the trainer. Silver Streak looks capable of following-up. Evan Williams, trainer of Silver Streak, followed-up with Court Minstrel in the Grade 3 hurdle and this horse seems to have found his mojo this summer and, considering he was competitive off OR157 in 2015-16 this 10yo is worth keeping an eye on in the coming weeks as he is unlikely to go up much from his current Or142 rating.

The feature race at Chepstow on Saturday was the 3-mile Class 2 handicap chase (in which Bigbadjohn unseated his rider). The winner was Rock The Kasbah but I was not particularly impressed as his jockey (champion) Richard Johnson was hard at work a long way out and it was probably only the inexperience of the runner-up Petrou (this was only his 3rd chase race) that denied the useful claimer Bridget Andrews a winning ride. In 3rd was the well-exposed Ballykan, and I've rated this race using him as a yardstick and so I cannot see the winner following up.  Petrou however, is another matter, and he was yet another advert for the talent of his trainer Dan Skelton as, since joining him in May (5 months ago) he's won 4 and been runner-up twice from the 7 races he's competed in. He goes onto the alert list, along with the horse that beat him LTO the 7yo Midnight Shot trained by Charlie Longsdon.

On Sunday's card at Chepstow, I was most interested in the Veterans' Handicap Chase over 3-mile and, in these races, I focus on the youngest horses in the race which are the 10yo's.  I may be wrong, but I think last season only one Veterans' handicap chase was won by a horse older than 10yo which I think was the 11yo Loose Chips at Ascot in April this year. Sure enough, of the 14 runners on Sunday, 6 were older than 10yo and none of them finished in the 1st-3.  The race was won by the 10yo Bob Ford who was having his first run for trainer Alastair Ralph since leaving Rebecca Curtis. The horse was bought by Dr Richard Newland (who is better know as the trainer of Grand National winner Pineau De Re) at the sales in March for £7000 and he clearly thought there was money to be won with him as he last won in December 2015. I overlooked him for the race on Sunday as - despite his rating having slipped from OR142 to OR122 - all his previous winning form had been on heavy ground and I thought the "good" ground at Chepstow would be too quick for him.  Although he is reported as opening in the betting at 8/1, you can take it from me that at 11am on Sunday morning Bob Ford was available at 18/1.  As such, the gamble on him to an SP of 5/1 was phenomenal and he must have easily repaid his purchase price in winnings from the ring. This gives a valuable lesson in gambling on the jumps: if you know your horse (selection) is fit and well, stays the trip and is well handicapped, then you can bet with confidence.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Chepstow on 13th October, the first big Saturday jumps meeting of the season

This is what we've been waiting for since the end of April - the start of the jumps season "proper"!
For once, I've had a cracking flat season, thanks mainly to my share in the Cribbs Causeway syndicate. Five wins, yes 5 wins, this season - can't be bad.

Two years ago on this day I posted a couple of selections and advised a couple of single wagers and a double - and they both came in. There's little chance of that happening again as there is only one decent betting race and that's the 3-mile Class 2 handicap chase at 4:45pm. There are 14 runners as I write, and the ground is Good-to-Soft.

The early fav is Rock The Kasbah (3/1) who won over C&D in February and showed that was no fluke (his usual trip being 2m5f) when running 2nd at Uttoxeter NTO. He won on this card last season, and he looks a worthy fav. I selected Label Des Obeaux (8/1) hen he ran at the Cheltenham Festival in the opening days handicap chase. He didn't seem to enjoy Cheltenham and, when next out at Ayr, he demonstrated his ability with a win over 3-miles. If he comes here in similar form he will take all the beating as he looks ahead of the handicapper over even with an 8lb adjustment to OR154. Sizing Codelco (8/1) ended the season with a couple of wins in top handicap chases and starts this season on OR160; and I just cannot see him being able to win off that rating - if he does he will put himself into the Cheltenham Gold Cup picture. For instance, Potters Legend (13/2) meets Sizing Codelco on 22lb better terms than when they met at Aintree in April. Potters Legend went into that race as the 9/2 fav and this trip and ground will suit him, and he goes well fresh too. I can see him running a big race, but will he be good enough to win?  We are waiting for Venetia Williams first winner of the season, and I cannot see it being Marcilhac (16/1).  And this 3-mile trip is probably too much for Indian Stream (20/1) who is best at 2m5f. An interesting runner is Bigbadjohn (16/1 generally) as he a couple of good races last season on ground softer than he'd like, and I'm happy to ignore his run at Cheltenham. He stays 3-mile, usually runs prominently and with just 6 chase runs is relatively unexposed. His rating of  OR144 looks reasonable and odds of 18/1 (Coral and BetVictor) look generous.  Ballykan (9/1) is well exposed, and Boa Island will need a career-best to be involved.  Minellacelebration (20/1) was going well when brought-down LTO and is another that can go well, as is Henryville (25/1).  The remaining pair of Relentless Dreamer (12/1) and Junction Fourteen (20/1) would require a complete reverse of recent fortune to succeed. Whereas Petrou  (20/1) does not have the experience to win a race as competitive, if he does he's very decent.

Rebecca Curtis won this race last year and BIGBADJOHN looks well-placed to run a cracker, although the odds about several look decent.  It could be a very competitive race and in such cases I think it's best to take a punt on one at long odds.

I'm taking a break from writing a regular blog, but I will be having a few quid on BIGBADJOHN as I thought he'd be half his current odds and it would not surprise me to see him start this race at 8/1. I think the fav Rock The Kasbah can be opposed as although consistent last season, he didn't show any improvement from his debut chase to his final run in the Bet365 Chase at Sandown; as such, he looks vulnerable.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Cribbs Causeway - Living the dream

Link< Cribbs Causeway winning at Newmarket on Saturday 7th October >Link

Close friends, relations, and close horse-racing contacts will know that I've been part of the syndicate (managed by Nick Bradley) behind the 3yo filly CRIBBS CAUSEWAY. On Saturday at the end of a busy Newmarket card, she won the EBF Breeders' Fillies' Series Handicap (Class 2) over 1m4f - and she didn't just win it, she won with a tonne in hand. Her jockey on Saturday was non other than Frankie Dettori and, having hit the front 3-furlongs out, he dropped his "whip" just after passing the 2-furlong marker and it was a hands'n'heels ride from there on. Click on the link above to watch the official video of the race.

This was a tremendous performance, her best yet by a long way, and we are confident that there is more to come and she stays in training for 2018. What a year 2017 has been - 5 wins, £62,000 in prize-money, and progressing from OR62 to OR90 (maybe OR95 after the handicapper has rated Saturdays win).

When I was first sent the details of Cribbs Causeway in July 2016, it took me under an hour to make the decision to join the syndicate. The bloodline was there, as the dam Bristol Fashion is a half-sister to Midas Touch (5th in the Derby, and runner-up in the Irish Derby and St Leger). At the time (July 2016) I was unaware that Bristol Fashion was also half-sister to the filly Coronet who this season has won the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot over 1m4f, and then chased home super-filly Enable in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks.

Cribbs Causeway was the 1st-foal of Bristol Fashion, who was unraced due to her being very tall (according to Nick Bradley) so there was some risk attached.  However, I took into account the dam-side bloodline and also that the sire Rip Van Winkle was sired by champion sire Galileo, who traces back through champion sire Sadlers Wells who, in turn, was sired by the great Northern Dancer. Personally, I think the sire Rip Van Winkle is under-rated as his stock seem to be later developers and despite having most success on the course as a miler, his stock do well beyond 10-furlongs.

You can have the right horse, but without the right treatment you will not see the best performance so, credit where credit is due, Roger Charlton and his team at Beckhampton deserve the fullest praise. Fingers crossed, our good fortune will continue into the next year, and I cannot describe the euphoria experienced by myself and the other syndicate members on Saturday afternoon - this is what we all dream of when we join a horse-racing syndicate.