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.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Aztec Treasure wins in a canter!

Yesterday’s Horseracing
Jonjo O’Neill and Towcester go together like bread and jam – and his chasers are the cherry on top! Yesterday, AZTEC TREASURE never looked in any danger, and simply cruised to victory taking-up the lead at the final fence, but he could have gone on to win the race at any time in the final half-mile. Do not be distracted by the winning distance, he could have won by 20-lengths. He was a very generous 5/2 at SP, but I advised taking the 3/1 that was available when I posted the blog at 10:36am. Remember, if you want to know when the blog goes online, follow me on twitter. I can be found at @wayward_lad. It costs you nothing for the service, and there are some very good exponents of the racing game to be found on twitter. Horseracing is made for twitter as information can be spread at lightning speed.
The other blog selection CHAPOTURGEON was more speculative, but he still ran a fair race. I thought he’d be capable of doing himself justice, but perhaps this 17f trip was too short for him. He was staying-on in the final half-mile and a return to 20-21f could see him in the winners enclosure. Royal Charm, who won the race on the line, looks like he needs 20f or more and on this performance he’s not an “Arkle” contender. The best “Arkle” performance we’ve seen this side of the Irish Sea so far has been from GHIZAO.
At Exeter, Silver Gypsy ran away with the opener and should not have been allowed to go off at 15/8 such was her dominance of this mares hurdle. It seems that AP McCoy went here solely to ride the 4yo mare SWAY to win the Mares Novice Chase at 9/2. She looks one to follow.
At Towcester, after the win by AZTEC TREASURE, I should have followed-up with Bobby Gee who’d beaten him LTO. Put up just 6lb for that win, and with the form confirmed by AZTEC TREASURE, he massacred a good field in the 2m6f h’cap chase. Richie McLernon was able to conjure a run out of RATE OF KNOTS in the same race to be 3rd and, given he is unlikely to be raised in the handicap for this run, that he’s 4lb below his last winning rating and 10lb off his highest rating he is one to note NTO.

Also, just heard that along with TWIST MAGIC, at Bangor GILSLAND collapsed after racing on Wednesday with a heart attack and passed away.


Antepost opportunities for the Cheltenham Festival (part two
)
So far, the following antepost advices have been provided on the blog:-
IMPERIAL COMMANDER, 2pts win @ 9/2 for the Gold Cup (on 22/11 and again on 28/11)
DENMAN, 1pt eachway @ 8/1 for the Gold Cup (on 28/11)
BURTON PORT, ½pt eachway @ 20/1 for the Gold Cup (on 28/11)
PEDDLERS CROSS, 1pt eachway @ 14/1 for the Champion Hurdle (on 27/11)
GHIZAO, 1pt eachway @ 12/1 for the Arkle (on 23/11)
GAUVAIN , ½pt eachway @ 25/1 for the QM Champion Chase (on 15/11)

So, there’s 10pts staked already, but perhaps the ½pt eachway on GAUVAIN was a bit too speculative given the revitalised performances of MASTER MINDED and the likelihood that the competition for 2nd and 3rd in the Champion Chase will be much fiercer now.
From Part One (see 14th December blog), I am not tempted by MENORAH at 4/1 nor – following this week’s run in Ireland - by HURRICANE FLY at 11/2 for the Champion Hurdle.
As I wrote on 15th December, POQUELIN is at the fore of the Ryanair market at the very generous odds of 6/1. I cannot see anything likely to be in the race that can beat him at Cheltenham over 2m5f on the likely Good-to-Soft going – but, as he’s unlikely to run again before the Festival, we’ll keep the money in the pocket for a bit longer yet.
Where else to explore? The RSA Chase and Neptune Hurdle markets are still wide open. The World Hurdle looks sown-up by BIG BUCKS who looks unbeatable. The only horse that “may” be capable of challenging him (that won’t go for the Champion Hurdle) is Zaynar, but he has to prove he’s up to the challenge. I reckon the only horse around that could wrest the title from BIG BUCKS is PEDDLERS CROSS, but he’s Champion Hurdle bound. We need to look for eachway value in the World Hurdle. That’s it for now on the antepost front and we will revisit this theatre in about a month’s time.

Today’s horseracing

There is an 11:00am inspection at Ascot which is the only possible jump meeting today. Looking at the temperatures, I doubt racing will go ahead, and, even if it did, there is no selection today.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.
The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Rest easy Twist Magic

The most distressing news from yesterday’s racing was the sad demise of TWIST MAGIC. He went down at the 2nd-last when leading and in control. The way he fell suggests his stamina had given out, and as I said in the blog yesterday, the 2m5f trip was going to expose his limitations. Unfortunately, despite getting –up from the fall, TWIST MAGIC was later put-down due to injuries sustained in the fall.
Pistol Basc never got a look-in for his race with the going looking too taxing for most of the runners. In the next on the card at Bangor, Gilsland did prove hard to beat, but he went down by just a head at 4/1 – unlucky. The novice hurdle was won by hurdling debutant BACKSPIN, and didn’t he win it well! Make a note of this one as he could have won this by 20-lengths.
At Fairyhouse, we saw some cracking racing. Make a note of this one – ZAIDPOUR, a half-brother to Zaynar. He won as he liked yesterday with some decent horses behind. He’s just 5/1 for the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Festival, but I reckon he’ll be more suited by the Neptune for which he’s 6/1. But there’s a long way to go yet.
HURRICANE FLY winning the Hatton’s Grace hurdle over 2m4f was perhaps the best form he’s showed (in my opinion). Even so, the result was pretty much in-line with the ratings of the others and perhaps the disappointment was Solwhit not being more of a match. You can get 11/2 about HURRICANE FLY for the Champion Hurdle, but that looks skinny to me. I admit, my 25/1 assessment prior to yesterday’s race was a bit harsh, but I would be looking for 10’s before having an interest. I’m more interested in the fact that PEDDLERS CROSS has been eased in a few places to 13/2 for the CH – this horse knows his way around Cheltenham, and has yet to have his ability fathomed.
The John Durkan was won by TRANQUIL SEA (as I expected yesterday) with J’Y VOLE in 2nd (again, as I expected) but the result did not change my opinion of POQUELIN for the Ryanair next March.
It was a fair chase debut (outside France) for MIKAEL D’HAGUENET, but he fell at the last when he had yet to wrest the lead from eventual winner Jessie’s Dream. Whatever way you look at it, this was not RSA winning form. Jessie’s Dream has not suddenly improved 20lb to win this race, tho’ I would say it was a personal-best performance.

Today’s horseracing
Following yesterday’s jump racing bonanza, we have two solid meetings at Towcester and Exter today.
Jonjo O’Neill has a tremendous strike rate at Towcester, which gets even better with his chasers – 21 wins from 61 runners (34%). In the 1:10, a 3-mile h’cap chase, he sends out C&D winner AZTEC TREASURE who is the top-weight for this. Talented claimer Richie McLernon takes of 3lb, and it is hard to see another in this race troubling the pair. The morning joint-fav Topless is very consistent – at coming 2nd! From 20 chase runs he’s yet to win, but has been 2nd seven times – and has even unseated his rider at the last fence when 5 lengths clear. For me, AZTEC TREASURE at 7/2 looks a decent wager. Later on the card, Jonjo O’Neill can secure a double with RATE OF KNOTS in the 2m6f chase at 2:10. Again, Richie McLernon is in the saddle, and again RATE OF KNOTS is a C&D winner. He lost his form last season, and his reappearance last month was not up to much either; but McLernon gets on well with the horse and he may be able to tease a return to form out of him as he’s 4lb below his last winning rating and 10lb off his highest.
Exeter goes ahead, and at the end of last season I made a mental note to have a wager on this horse if the word “soft” was in the going description – CHAPOTURGEON. I realise that Nicholls also runs his “Arkle” hopeful Royal Charm in the race, and that he gets 7lb from CHAPOTURGEON, but he’s going to have to show some decent form to beat him today. Be fair, the race Royal Charm won was a doddle, and that’s been his only chase race to date. CHAPOTURGEON is capable of running to OR160+ and he will be fit for this. Remember, his is only a 6yo. Odds of 6/1 (Stan James) look mighty generous to me.

Selection:
Towcester 1:10, AZTEC TREASURE, 1pt win @ 3/1 (odds just been cut)
Exeter 1:50, CHAPOTURGEON, 1pt win @ 11/2 (odds just been cut)
Total = 2pts staked

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.
The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Peterborough Chase at Newbury

The h’cap chase at Folkestone was dominated by long-priced runners who showed much-improved performances. The race was won by the 10yo Only vintage, who provided trainer Paul Henderson with his 2nd chase winner at the track from just 4 runners in the past 5 seasons. I was on the previous winner, Lidjo de Rouge, when it won over C&D, so it seems that Henderson likes sending chasers here – take note!
The blog selection MIDNIGHT HAZE was almost certainly undone by the drop in trip and a return to 3-mile (or further) should see him back in the winner’s enclosure. I was also taken with the run of CHANCE DU ROY in 3rd as this was only his 4th chase run and his rating of OR130 looks lenient.

Today’s horseracing
There is a cracking day’s racing for a Wednesday, with jump meetings at Bangor and Newbury in the UK and a very attractive meeting at Fairyhouse in Ireland.
There is a host of decent jockeys riding at Bongor (instead of Newbury) including AP McCoy, Graham Lee, Jason Maguire, and Tom Scudamore, as well as Robert Thornton (on the comeback trail from long-term injury).
PISTOL BASC met a good one LTO, and he looks to have more potential to improve than some of these. The trip and going are in his favour and altho’ he is creeping up the handicap, his jumping is assured and he does possess a turn of foot at the business end.
I expect GISLAND is the reason why Jason Maguire is at Bangor and he should prove hard to beat in the 3m6f h’cap chase at 1:15 – a race the McCain family have won in 2 of the previous 3 years.
The novice hurdle at 1:50 is definitely a race to watch and make note of, with some interesting novice hurdlers competing. And in the 3-mile h’cap hurdle, Galaxy Rock always runs much better with McCoy in the saddle as the horse needs hard driving, but I don’t think he truly stays this trip so, if he’s to win, then there will have to be some McCoy magic.
There are some big fields for the races at Newbury, and I’ll be honest and report that big fields put me off. There is only one race for me to consider and that’s the Peterborough (moved from Huntingdon to here). This 2m5f trip will be tricky for some of these including the fav Twist Magic, who has never looked a “stayer”. Last years winner Deep Purple looks like he has a good opportunity to follow-up here, but I am taken by MASTER MEDIC. This horse was last seen totally outclassed in the King George nearly 12 months ago, but the 9yo has very few miles on the clock and has a touch of class at 2-mile with proven ability to stay this sort of trip. At 10/1, he could be the one to cause an upset.
At Fairyhouse, the Hatton’s Grace hurdle (Grade 1) looks a mouth-watering race. Hurricane Fly needs to win this, and win well, to put his doubters to bed. How can he be 7/1 for the Champion Hurdle and 3/1 for this? One of those markets is badly wrong, and I’d say it was the Champion Hurdle market – the horse should be more like 25/1 for that. For me, SUMMIT MEETING was not beaten far by Peddlers Cross in the Neptune last March and he’d had a much interrupted preparation for that race. You cannot argue with the form of that race, and this trip and going will be right up his street. He’s had a comeback “blow-out” to ripen him up and at 20’s he’s the eachway value.
It’s hard to see TRANQUIL SEA being beaten on soft going over the 20f trip of the Grade 1 John Durkan chase, but if any can do it then it will be J’y Vole.
Finally, MIKHAEL D’HAGUENET makes a seasonal debut after long-term injury problems. He is thrown-in the deep end in this, but if he is good enough we’ll learn it today.

Antepost opportunities for the Cheltenham Festival (part two)
I’ll see how the results go today and come back with part two tomorrow, but POQUELIN is at the fore of the Ryanair market at the very generous odds of 6/1. Be honest with yourself, is there anything likely to be in the race that can beat him at Cheltenham over 2m5f on the likely Good-to-Soft going?

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.
The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Cheltenham Festival antepost review (part one)

Today’s horseracing
It is likely that both jump meetings at Catterick and Folkestone will go ahead, altho’ Catterick is having a precautionary morning inspection.
The 2m5f class 3 h’cap chase at Folkstone at 2:35 is the pick of the day’s racing. I really rate MIDNIGHT HAZE who won well LTO, and Kim Bailey will have him ripe for this. This trip may be on the short side, but he did win well over this trip at Kempton last November beating a useful field of future winners, and he will lead them all the way and not lose for lack of stamina. There are some potentially useful horse’s in this – Carrickboy, Doctor Pat, Chance Du Roy, The Rainbow Hunter – so, with the trip possibly on the short-side, MIDNIGHT HAZE is an each-way selection, especially as the early odds are 6/1 (Chandler). They have now just gone, and best available is 11/2, don’t take less!
I can’t see anything of interest at Catterick.

Selection:
Folkestone 2:35, MIDNIGHT HAZE, 1pt eachway @ 11/2 (best odds guaranteed)

Antepost opportunities for the Cheltenham Festival (part one)
It’s time for the first review of the antepost markets for the 2011 Cheltenham Festival.
Just about all the races have some form of antepost market prior to the meeting, but at this stage of the season, it is only the feature “championship” races that really should be focused on.
The Festival ‘opener’, the Supreme Novices looks virtually sown-up already by CUE CARD who is best-priced at 11/4. Given that last years “damp squib” Dunguib was at 6/4 this time last year on very flimsy novice hurdle formlines, providing CUE CARD goes for the race (and not the “Neptune" over 2m5f, or even the Champion Hurdle) he looks good value.
The “Arkle” is still a market being formed. I have already recommended taking the 12/1 about GHIZAO, and I still think that is an opportunity. But there are a few hands yet to be shown, and I am very interested in the potential Irish contenders, notably NOBLE PRINCE and MIKAEL D’HAGUENET.

MENORAH now heads the Champion Hurdle market where he will bid to be the first hurdler since Bula in 1971 to win the premier hurdle race the year after winning the Supreme Novices hurdle. He will not be the first to try and, in the past 20 years, 8 have tried including the likes of Brave Inca and Hors La Loi (who both went on to win the Champion Hurdle in a later attempt). By contrast, the “Neptune” hurdle over 2m5f has been won by subsequent champion hurdlers in Istabraq and Hardy Eustace, and Gold Cup winner Davy Lad. I believe that last years “Neptune” winner, PEDDLERS CROSS is a better horse, and I advised taking the 14/1 about him for the Champion hurdle before his win in the Fighting Fifth hurdle. Now just 6’s for that race, he’s still worthy of investment.
The 2011 ‘Neptune’ is still a blank canvas, as is (in some ways) the RSA Novice Chase. No doubt about it, TIME FOR RUPERT was very impressive in winning at the weekend but odds of just 4/1 leave no room for error, and I will be looking for another to carry my money
As I wrote yesterday, MASTER MINDED looks back to his best – if not better than ever! Remember, he won the 2009 Champion Chase at odds of 4/11 (and some thought he should have been more like 1/8). He looks head & shoulders better than anything over the trip and I would grab the 7/4 (2/1 with Bet365) with both hands, as if he wins his next race (likely to be at Leopardstown on 27-Dec) then he’ll be very short odds for the Champion Chase. I think that BIG ZEB who won the race last March, was flattered by the result and his official rating of OR165 that he went into the race with is a more realistic valuation of his ability than the OR174 he was awarded for winning this last year. I am very interested in FRENCH OPERA for this race at 25/1, as he would have finished 2nd or 3rd in the Champion Chase based on his run at the Festival when 2nd in the “Johnny Henderson”. He’s yet to reappear this season, but loves Cheltenham and is a proven 2-mile chaser.

Part Two of the review of Antepost opportunities for the Cheltenham Festival will be tomorrow.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.
This blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Monday, 13 December 2010

Plumpton provides some light relief

What’s going on? It is a Monday and there is the prospect of some jump racing at Plumpton!
That said, the racing even looks fairly good for this course, with the 2m5f novice hurdle at 1:05 providing an interesting field of runners. This race has been won by some progressive sorts in recent years, and I would expect the winner if this race to go into the notebooks. Hendersons’ Skint looks a good sort, as does the Noel Chance runner Brackloon High – but the one that catches my eye is the KIND OF EASY who is a half-brother to Glencove Marina. This will be his hurdling debut and whatever he does today, put him in your notebook.
The novice chase at 1:35 looks good too. Medermit has a few questions to answer, but should be too good for these. Having more than 3 opponents should also help keep his mind on the job in hand.

Weekend racing at Cheltenham

I did not post a blog on Friday or Saturday despite the attractive meeting at Cheltenham – I spent the weekend in the beautiful town of Bath.
Even so, regular readers of the blog will not have been far wrong with a few good winners which have been pointed-out. For instance, MIDNIGHT CHASE merited the comment “unless the handicapper puts him up to over OR160 (which would mean a rise of 14lb) then he must be capable of following-up” after winning LTO. Running off OR155, the handicapper had given him a chance, which he duly took with a gutsy display. Given his fondness for Cheltenham and the bucket-loads of stamina and resolution he possesses, the Gold Cup is on the cards, (3rd pays £50,000, and 4th about £15,000), and he’s worthy of an interest in the betting without the big-3 markets.
MENORAH now looks the business in the Champion Hurdle following his win in the International Hurdle on Saturday. He ended last season on a par with PEDDLERS CROSS on the official ratings, and my immediate reaction to his win in the Supreme Novices was that he would not be good enough this season. Well, I’ve eaten humble pie over this one – but I still think that PEDDLERS CROSS will be the better horse next March, and I would not ignore the chance of the reigning champion BINOCULAR, now out to 5/1. I’ll have a think about this market and may post up some antepost advice later in the week.
MASTER MINDED looks back to his best – if not better than ever! Remember, he won the 2009 Champion Chase at odds of 4/11 (and some thought he should have been more like 1/8). He looks head & shoulders better than anything over the trip and I would grab the 7/4 (2/1 with Bet365) with both hands, as if he wins his next race (likely to be at Leopardstown on 27-Dec) then he’ll be very short odds for the Champion Chase.
POQUELIN winning the 2m5f handicap chase put him at the fore of the Ryanair market at the very generous odds of 6/1. Be honest with yourself, take a look at that market and is there anything in the race that can beat him? Master Minded will take the Champion Chase, Tranquil Sea needs it soft/heavy (and is held anyway IMO), Somersby isn’t good enough, Long Run does not handle the Cheltenham hill. There is only last year’s winner ALBERTAS RUN on 10’s who is capable.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

No racing - so some other financial advice

No jump racing today, and it looks like the next meeting that may go ahead is at Huntingdon on Thursday.

Last night, I took my monthly look over my pension funds. As an lifelong gambler, I have trust in my own judgement and so since 1998 I have managed my own pension funds. I immediately had a bit of a lucky break, as I moved my pension fund out of Equitable Life's "With Profits" funds (surely a misnomer) into their free-standing pension funds just before the company collapsed.

I started 2010 with my usual annual target - a 20% increase in my pension fund. As of last week, I hit the target for the year. Since I started "managing" my own pension, I think it has performed admirably. In 2005, I achieved a 36% increase in my pension fund. I've had a couple of years of about 10% growth, and 2008 was a bit of a stinker (but, then I wasn't paying a financial advisor 5% of my fund value for the privelege of him saying that "markets were unsteady"). Right now, my pension fund is nearly 12% greater in value than it was in the summer of 2007 when the FTSE was at 6600 (its at 5830 as of noon today, about 12% down on its peak), so, I think my judgement isn't too bad.

Generally, I measure myself against the so-called "managed funds". I reckon if I can beat those, then I'm doing alright.

What I noticed last night was that property funds are back in town. I've not been involved in property this year, but its been on an upward trend since Sept 2009 when it bottomed-out. If property can grow in a recession then, as the economy pulls itself out of the mire, there's only one way it can go - up! So, today I'm going to start moving some of my pension fund portfolio into property (about 2%, increasing to 10%).

My European funds are going sideways. Not sure why, but its probably due to the Euro and other economic woes. So, they are the funds I'm selling and moving into property.

Looking long term, I reckon that there will be significant growth in raw materials necessary for modern life - and silver is one commmodity that takes my eye. It has gone up over 200% (from US$9 to US$30 an ounce) since the autumn of 2008, and that must be because that it's many uses in modern electronics is making it more valuable. I'm looking for a fund to include in my portfolio for commodities and raw materials, and would welcome any suggestions.

Outside of Europe, as I lived and worked in Hong Kong for over 7 years in the 1990's, I always have a soft-spot for the Asian markets, and this year they have done me proud - again! They never seem to fail me. If there ever is a correction, they bounce back double quick.

I also have a chunk of my fund in smaller companies and "special situations". If you are going to make a killing in these areas, its best to get into them when the economy is downbeat (and they are relatively cheap) as when the economy turns upwards, they will outstrip the growth of the "blue-chips".

Anyone else out there who manages their own pension funds and want to swap advice?

Monday, 6 December 2010

Get the notebooks ready

Look-ahead at the week’s racing
The thaw in the weather came too late to save the Sandown “Tingle Creek” meeting on Saturday, and the race has been transferred to the Cheltenham meeting this coming Saturday (11th).

Yesterday’s re-scheduled meeting at Exeter was a brief respite for jump racing fans. Paul Nicholl’s Sanctuaire flopped again and now has lots to prove. The 4-mile h’cap chase had 8 fences omitted due to bad ground and that result is of debateable value.

Today’s planned meetings at Bangor and Musselburgh have both been abandoned. Racing planned for the rest of the week also looks dodgy . Tuesday’s jump meeting at Sedgefield has already been abandoned, and there is an inspection this afternoon for Fontwell (which may well go ahead given its proximity to the coast).

Wednesday’s jump meeting at Hexham has already been abandoned, tho’ the meeting at Leicester looks a goer (in my opinion). There is an inspection planned this morning and I would expect this to pass.

By Thursday, we should be back to normal.

In a few weeks times we will enter the most important period in the jumps racing calendar; that between Boxing Day (26th December) and Valentine’s Day (14th February) when just about every horse, that will go on to win at the coming Cheltenham Festival in March, will run. Get the notebook ready, the pencil sharpened and be ready to view the races – especially those in Ireland. Looking at the novice championship races (Arkle and RSA), I am surprised we’ve not seen the markets for these races firm-up as, by this time last year, Sizing Europe had run (and won) twice, and Weapons Amnesty had run three times (won once). It could be that we have already seen the winners of these races over fences – but we’ve not noticed them just yet.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Friday, 3 December 2010

Fiasco for England 2018 World Cup bid

With snow covering the country and allowing plenty of time for navel-gazing, there is much gnashing of teeth over the failure of the England 2018 World cup bid.
Not much point in trying to find blame, as the failure is in the system - lying at the feet of FIFA.
It is now fairly evident that FIFA has grown into a monster which holds too much power over world football for which it answers to no-one and no body.
We can ask for a more transparent election/selection system, but that's like trying to hold democratic elections in China - it ain't gonnna happen.
Personally, I am not too put out by England not hosting the 2018 World Cup as not having to qualify would probably have meant our national team would be weak from lack of competitive football. Losing a World Cup as the host nation would signal a mass depression over the country.
I am fairly happy about the selection of Russia as 2018 hosts, as it is a former "Eastern-block" country and the first from the east of Europe to host the tournament. The logistic issues will be the heat in the summer (it can get exceptionally hot) and the terrorist issues.
What upsets me most is that the England bid only recieved 2 votes from the 22 on offer - and one of those was from England's representative on the voting panel. Given that all 4 host candidates for 2018 were based in Europe (Spain/Portugal; Holland/Belgium; England and "winners" Russia) and the Spain/Portugal bid was really a non-starter (Spain having hosted in 1982); England really should have collected a few more votes in the opening round. It should have been a straight battle between Russia and England.
As for 2022 being awarded to Qatar - that deceision is totally bonkers! It cuts against the grain of everything the World is trying to aim for - never mind football. Taking the World Cup to Qatar is FIFA putting two fingers up to conservation and saving the planet. It is FIFA saying they support the subjugation of women. It is FIFA saying that they are religiously intollerant. It is FIFA saying that they are "for sale".

Where do we go from here?
FIFA will not change, and they are now drunk with power. If you think the decisions of yesterday were bad, now that they have got away with it they will get much worse. FIFA has become a de-facto fascist state.
FIFA has to be toppled before it turns the beautiful game into something hideously ugly.
EUFA has already agreed to expand the European Championships in 2016 from 16 nations in the finals, to 24. Why not make the tournament an "invitational"? Invite 4 non-European teams to compete - the likes of Brazil and Argentina, Ghana, Mexico, Chile and Uruguay, USA and Australia.
Create a tournament free from corruption and hidden voting practices, that supports a game that is open to all, and that brings respect back to the game.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

I'm dreaming, of a white Christmas

Look-ahead at the week’s racing
December opens with no jump racing. The meetings at Ayr, Catterick and Plumpton have all been abandoned.

Tomorrow’s card (Thursday) at Wincanton is undergoing an inspection as I write, but conditions are deteriorating, and it is unlikely to go ahead. Have just learned that the meeting is abandoned.

Friday’s card at Exeter is doubtful, as the course is currently frozen. There is an inspection at 3pm today. The card at Sandown is also doubtful as the course is currently unraceable. There will be an inspection on Thursday morning.

Saturday’s meetings at Sandown, Chepstow and Wetherby are all in doubt. My opinion is that the Chepstow meeting is the most likely to go ahead as although it is covered in light snow (as I write on Wednesday morning), a slight thaw in temperatures would make the course raceable.

Sunday’s meeting at Kelso has already been abandoned! The meeting at Warwick is in doubt (the course is frozen and under an inch of snow).

Monday’s planned meetings at Bangor and Musselburgh are unlikely to go ahead unless there is a change in the weather.

At least I’ve not been stuck on a train overnight like those passengers at Orpington in Kent.

If you can, try and find out from websites and blogs operated by racing trainers just who is able to exercise their horses in this weather. Last winter, I noticed that those trainers who were able to gallop their horses came out best when horseracing resumed after the frozen period in early Jan-Feb earlier this year.

Unless there is a significant change in the weather, I will be taking a rest from writing the blog and will resume when racing does. How does the song go? “I’m dreaming, of a white Christmas…”

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

November look back

Yesterday’s racing
Despite the efforts of the trainers in getting their horses to the course, jockeys on making the journey also, bookmakers on travelling there to make a market for the betting industry, and owners who very obligingly funded the whole operation – Folkestone was called off with the runners at the post for the 1st race.

The jump meeting at Hereford today has already been lost to the weather, and Wednesday’s meetings at Catterick and Ayr are also lost. There is a meeting at Plumpton planned for tomorrow tho’ the course is currently frozen and an inspection started at 8:00am this morning. There is snow at Leicester and Market Rasen, which puts their meetings on Thursday in doubt. Wincanton on Thursday at the moment seems hopeful of going ahead, and it is considered 80% raceable.

Today’s racing

There is AW flat racing at Lingfield and Southwell, but this blog is only concerned with jump racing until the result of the next Grand National is known next April; so I can’t provide advice on the AW racing today.

November blog results
The blog selections for the month of November were as follows:-
1st November: FREE WORLD, 2pts win, 2nd @ 3/1 - 2pts lost
2nd November: VAMIZI, 1pt win, 3nd @ 100/30 - 1pt lost
3rd November: JUSTABOUT, 1pt win, unplaced @ 9/2 – 1pt lost
4th November: GIFTED LEADER, ½pt eachway, 2nd @ 6/1 – 0.10pts profit
10th November: BUFFALO BOB, ½pt eachway, 2nd @ 13/2 – 0.15pts profit
11th November: MIDNIGHT HAZE, 1pt win, WON @ 9/2 – 4.50pts profit
11th November: JUSTABOUT, 1pt win, WON @ 7/2 – 3.50pts profit
13th November: MAD MAX, 1pt eachway, 4th @ 9/1 – 1.25pts profit
13th November: FINGERONTHEPULSE, ½pt eachway, unplaced @ 22/1 – 1pt lost
16th November: PLEIN POUVIOR, 1pt win, unplaced @ 9/2 = 1pt lost
19th November: LE BURF, ½pt win, 3rd @ 6/1 – 0.50pts lost
20th November: IMPERIAL COMMANDER and ZAYNAR, 1pt win double = 1pt lost
24th November: DIAMOND FRONTIER, 1pt win @ 5/2 – 1pt lost
25th November: SOUND STAGE, 1pt eachway, 2nd @ 8/1 – 0.60pts profit
27th November: SILVER BY NATURE, ½pt eachway, unplaced @ 25/1 – 1pt lost
27th November: MINELLA THEATRE, 1pt eachway, unplaced @ 11/1 – 2pts lost

November Balance = lost 1.40pts from 19pts staked.


I’ve also noted the following winners during the month in the narrative which - if you were a bit more speculative - you may have been on; I’m A Legend @ 7/2; FLEMISH INVADER @ 5/2; GHIZAO @ 13/2; and EXTRA BOLD @ 7/2.

Ante-post Advice
I’ve also provided ante-post advice during the month, suggesting taking the odds of 14/1 on PEDDLERS CROSS prior to him winning the Fighting Fifth hurdle – he’s now best-priced @ 6/1 for the Champion Hurdle.

Other antepost advice provided during the month:
IMPERIAL COMMANDER, 2pts win @ 9/2 for the Gold Cup (on 22/11 and again on 28/11)
DENMAN, 1pt eachway @ 8/1 for the Gold Cup (on 28/11)
BURTON PORT ½pt eachway @ 20/1 for the Gold Cup (on 28/11)
GHIZAO 1pt eachway @ 12/1 for the Arkle (on 23/11)
GAUVAIN ½pt eachway @ 25/1 for the QM Champion Chase (on 15/11)

I also suggested on 23rd November not ignoring anything sent out by Nicky Henderson from then on until the end of next February. In the past 7 days, he’s sent out 23 runners and, as luck would have it, only had 3 winners. But he has had a few go close, and he is a man to keep on the right side of.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Monday, 29 November 2010

Last chance saloon at Folkestone

Today’s racing
After the “top-table” racing of the Hennessey meeting at Newbury, it’s back down-to-earth at Folkestone today for what may be the last jump meeting of the next few days. Hereford’s meeting on Tuesday has already gone, as has the Catterick meeting for Wednesday. The meeting at Ayr on Wednesday is in serious doubt as the course is currently frozen (there is an inspection planned at noon today). There is snow at Leicester and Market Rasen, which puts their meetings on Thursday in doubt – although Wincanton on Thursday at the moment seems hopeful of going ahead.

So then, just the Folkestone meeting today, but it does hold an interesting class 3 h’cap chase over 3m1f at 3:10. I am happy to oppose the fav Pacco, as he loved the soft going LTO and had very little to beat. He also loves Towcester (3 wins from 4 runs there) so with just about everything in his favour it was no wonder he ran-out a convincing winner. The quicker “good” going today may find him out tho’, as he has never run well when the going has been quicker than soft. Antonius Caesar (2nd-fav) ran his best race in ages LTO and given he last won off OR120, he is on a good mark of OR107 if he can recapture his old form. Ballyoliver (3rd-fav) is a chasing debutant from Venetia Williams stable. I always oppose her chasing debutants as she does not school her chasers at home prior to racing – they jump their 1st fence at the track! She employs a “sink or swim” attitude to chasers believing jumping is best learnt at the races rather than on the schooling ground. Which brings us to AMMUMITION, on a hat-trick and in the form of his life. I’m trying to find a chink in his form, but I can’t. Jonjo O’Neills Whataboutya won’t win off his h’cap mark of OR115. Reblis is an interesting runner, but his form suggests he’s best on soft or worse. DUNKELLY CASTLE looks capable of improving on what he’s shown to date, and he appreciates going right-handed. The form of his last race is working out well (couple of winners in Bobby Gee and Justabout, and Major Malarkey has run well since) and he looks the type to improve. His trainer, Roger Curtis, is having a bit of a quiet time lately (no wins in November), but he’s had a couple of chase winners at Folkestone in the past and this is his only runner today.

After a 3pts loss on Saturday, the blog is now on minus-1.40pts (from 19pts staked) during November.

Selection:
Folkestone 3:10 DUNKELLY CASTLE, ½pt eachway @ 14/1 (Vic Chandler, best odds guaranteed)

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Brave display from Denman

Sunday Supplement
What a tremendous Hennessey Gold Cup, and have we seen the emergence of a new order in the staying chasing ranks?
When they turned for home, with every fence jumped, the crowd roared on the defending champion Denman . Valiantly tho’ he tried, conceding 26lb to the likes of Diamond Harry and Burton Port was just too much. You have to remember that Nicky Henderson sent out Trabolgan to win the HGC with 11:12 after winning the RSA, and he was rated OR151. Burton Port ran 2nd in the RSA amd went into the HGC on OR153 – so, technically, a 2lb better horse than Trabolgan – yet carrying only 10st. Yesterday’s time was a fast one - 6m 27.81 – so, if you work on 4-lengths per second, Denman took about 3.50 secs longer and crossed the line in about 6m 31.30; or about 8.70 secs faster than when winning the race last year. The race was the only one to beat standard time in the entire 3-day meeting – this is rock solid form, and I would consider that Denman ran to a career best! Think about the time – it was 0.70secs above the course record on good-to-soft going! Denman recorded OR184 when winning the HGC last year, and I reckon he beat that yesterday and then ran to his absolute peak – and cracked. He could not get eventual winner DIAMOND HARRY off the bridle, and he reached his breaking point just after the 2nd-last fence. How do I rate the race?

If Denman bettered last year’s performance of OR184, by how much did he do it? I use The Tother One as the benchmark, and rate him at equalling his best of RPR163. That puts Denman on 190, and BURTON PORT and DIAMOND HARRY both on 179 (remember, Burton Port carried a 1lb over-weight with 10st 1lb). On that basis, Denman put up a better performance that when 2nd to Imperial Commander in the last Gold Cup. Perhaps he did (on paper), but races are not won by mathematics. Imperial Commander is about 6lb better than Denman, and on HGC form both Diamond Harry and Burton Port have about 11lb to find to beat Denman on level weights. On what we will see prior to the next Gold Cup, IMPERIAL COMMANDER @ 9/2 (William Hill) has to be taken, as does the 8/1 about Denman – this is cracking eachway value. From what we’ve seen when they’ve met at Cheltenham, Kauto Star does not like it being served up to him by Denman – it rattles his jumping rhythm. Given the fragility of Diamond Harry (trainer Nick Williams has already declared they won’t risk him again on the track before the Gold Cup), I reckon the 20/1 available on BURTON PORT for the Gold Cup looks cracking eachway value.

The pace of the Hennessey Gold Cup put the kybosh on several horses chances. Clearly, the going was too quick for SILVER BY NATURE and we should see a more improved performance on “soft” going or worse. The pace certainly did for WEIRD AL, and it looks like he’s not as good as was thought. What happened to PANDORAMA? After a couple of early errors, and being impeded by falling horses, he was adrift of the main group early-on and his jockey decided to pull him up. He has one more chance to redeem himself in my book.

The rest of the card was very impressive. PEDDLERS CROSS has put himself right into the Champion Hurdle picture in winning the Fighting Fifth, but I thought BINOCULAR ran very well considering that he went into the race very lightly prepared. I did advise in yesterday’s blog to take the 14/1 about the Champion Hurdle on PEDDLERS CROSS, and I hope you did as the value has now gone and he’s just best-priced at 6/1. BIG BUCKS winning the Long Distance hurdle was just a formality and he looks booked to win the World Hurdle at the Festival.

I was most disappointed with Minella Theatre in the 2m4f h’cap chase; he was under pressure from about a mile out and looked outclassed. Perhaps he’s better in smaller, less, competitive fields. As for Prince Du Beauchene (off the Alert List) he wants 3-mile, and this trip was too short for him.

All-in-all, the blog lost 3pts on Saturday which means that selections have now lost 1.40pts (from 19pts staked) during November. With most of racing cancelled due to the frost and snow, we may have to look to racing in December to recover the loss.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Hennessey GC - history in the making?

Yesterday’s (Friday’s) Horseracing
I said earlier in the week that you cannot ignore anything Henderson sends out at this time of the year, and he sent out 5 to Newbury and was rewarded with 2 winners at odds of 13/2 and 13/8. He also had a 3rd at 12/1, meaning a healthy level stakes profit on the day.

The worst news was Noel Fehily breaking a wrist when his mount Rivaliste fell. It looks like Kauto Star will now be ridden on Boxing Day by AP McCoy – let’s hope the man rides his luck between now and then.

Today’s Horseracing
Only the one jump meeting at Newbury, but what a brilliant meeting it is!
The Fighting Fifth hurdle has been transferred from the snowbound Newcastle, to form part of an 8-race card including the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle and the days feature race, the Hennessey Gold Cup.

Let’s start with the feature race, and if Denman can win today with top-weight off OR182 then it will be a performance (in my opinion) equal to anything Arkle did in the 1960’s. Much as I’d love the horse to do it, I just cannot see it happening as I would be surprised if there is not a future Gold Cup winner in this field (other than Denman) amongst Neptune Collonges, Weird Al, Pandorama, Silver By Nature, Burton Port or Diamond Harry. And what about the likes of Taranis and Madison Du Berlais? WEIRD AL is on my Alert List (see adjacent pages). If the ground were soft I would not hesitate in recommending SILVER BY NATURE @ 25/1 as an eachway selection (but then his odds would be a lot shorter if the going were soft). Even so, this is a very talented horse and if he were with a fancy “southern” trainer then you’d be lucky to get odds over 10/1. He is an excellent eachway chance at the odds, and his trainer Lucinda Russell sent out a couple of winners on Friday at Musselburgh.

For the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, if PEDDLERS CROSS is to take the Champion Hurdle route this season, then he must be able to serve it up to reigning Champion hurdler Binocular. I think that PEDDLERS CROSS is potentially the most exciting prospect in jump racing, but I also think that the 2-mile trip at Newbury will find him out as he would ideally want a trip of 20f or more. If he wins this then the Champion Hurdle market will be turned on its head – so, perhaps the way to go is a punt on that instead, for which PEDDLERS CROSS is 14/1.

It is virtually impossible to consider BIG BUCKS being beaten in the Long Distance Hurdle; so on to the 2m4f h’cap chase at 3:40 – the final race on the card. The fav Working Title is fit from hurdling, and a talented hurdler he is too, but I cannot see him mixing it with these experienced chasers. There is one from my alert list in this - Prince De Beauchene, and he was very highly tried LTO. This is much more to his level and he may prove hard to beat. Another in the race I like is Minella Theatre who won LTO and, of the 4 to finish, 2 have run since and they’ve both won. I have a feeling that Prince De Beauchene would prefer 3-mile, and so the vote goes to MINELLA THEATRE. Very consistent as a hurdler, he’s suffered broken blood vessels as a chaser and, as he’s won 2 of the 3 chase’s he’s completed (was 4th to Weird Al over this trip in the other, and that’s cracking good form) he is very unexposed. The going will be perfect for him, and the runner-up LTO has run well off a mark 7lb higher suggesting the 10lb hike for the LTO win is reasonable.

Selections:
Newbury 3:05 SILVER BY NATURE, ½pt eachway @ 25/1 (various, 4th odds)
Newbury 3:40 MINELLA THEATRE, 1pt eachway @ 11/1 (various, 4th odds)
Total = 3pts staked

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Friday, 26 November 2010

Hennessey meeting - day 2

Yesterday’s (Thursday’s) Horseracing
Yet again, another 2nd for the blog selection when SOUND STAGE was unable to haul in the resolute Buffalo Bob. When it became a stamina slog, the advantage was always going to lie with Buffalo Bob, but this race looks top class form and the 1st-3 home will all win more races. Sir Ian in 3rd needs going a little quicker than this, but even so ran a cracker for a long way. SOUND STAGE looked like the winner till a bad error at the 4th-last and I really love the way this horse travels thru’ his races. A word for Prince Geeno – he was looking very promising till falling 6-out, and he will be one who will go a lot better nexrt time. The fav Zarrafakt jumped very poorly and he needs more practise.
The other blog selection Gifted Leader was a non-runner.
At Taunton, my old mate Justabout ran a much improved race to be 3rd at 8/1, but he does not really stay 3-mile and it showed again. A drop in trip to 2m6f will see him back in the winner’s enclosure. I was right about Extra Bold tho’, and he looks capable of winning again and I was very surprised he went off at 7/2 – very generous odds. And it was a 4th runners-up spot for Sir Winston off OR95; game and consistent, he is as one-paced as they come.

So, a tiny 0.60pt profit on the day from the 1pt eachway wager on Sound Stage making the November profit 1.60pts.

Today’s Horseracing
Firstly, full marks to the ground staff at Newbury and Mussselburgh for getting today’s horseracing going. The weather has been pretty poor resulting in Newcastle and Towcester being abandoned for Saturday already, and groundstaff never get the praise they deserve.

That said, having looked through the days races, I cannot find a wager at either meeting. The novice chase at Newbury at 2:10 has been used by Nicky Henderson to introduce some decent chasers, so SPIRIT RIVER must be creating a favourable impression at home to get the nod for this, but if Celestial Halo clears the last fence within a couple of lengths of the lead then he should have the speed on the flat to win this. In the 2:45, the Jim Joel 2m1f h’cap, I thought RIVALISTE was unlucky to meet Dave’s Dream on such a good handicap mark. A repeat of that form should be good enough to win this today, as he also has the benefit of race fitness. That said, Emma Lavelle’s Suntini is the class horse in the race when on top-form. The question is, is this a going day? Matuhi will be of interest to all, but Paul Nicholls will have a good line on his form thru’s his beaten horse Five Dream, and so I reckon RIVALISTE will prevail today. The odds are not helping me make a decision tho’, and at 100/30 there’s no enthusiasm from me to nominate a wager.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Day 1 - Hennessey meeting

Yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) Horseracing
I was right about the blog selection DIAMOND FRONTIER being over-priced at 5/2; he started at 7/4 having touched 6/4 on-course. However, despite the market support and leading over the final fence, the going (it was Soft, good-to-soft in places) was probably too testing for him and he had no response to the challenge of the eventual winner RIGUEZ DANCER. I did say in my blog I thought Riguez Dancer was capable of better than he’d shown to date, and he was very confidently ridden by Graham Lee. He looks more than capable of winning again, as the handicapper is unlikely to raise him more than 5lb and he’ll improve on this performance when racing over further anyway.
The 3-mile hurdle at Chepstow also ended as I expected, with the 1st-4 home finishing in a heap with barely a length covering them. Avoiding this race was the best call.

Today’s Horseracing
Today marks the opening day of the Newbury Hennessey meeting, along with two other jump meetings, at Taunton and Uttoxeter. Some decent jockeys are riding at Uttoxeter rather than Newbury this afternoon – Jason Maguire, Graham Lee, Dougie Costello amongst others - but the heavy going there puts me off making any selections at the meeting.

At Taunton, my old mate Justabout runs again in the 3:30, a 2m7f & 110yd chase, but he’s up 3lb for his C&D win LTO. This is a tougher race than that one (which he only just won) even tho’ there are several from that race contesting this. If Emma Lavelle’s Extra Bold is fit to do himself justice, he’ll win this doing handsprings off OR96, but he usually needs a run (he’s been off for 550 days). Last year’s winner Sir Winston has been 2nd for his last 3 races off today’s mark of OR95. He’s one-paced, but will be there at the finish, tho’ current odds of just 7/2 leave no margin for error. It may pay to go for a rank outsider to spring a surprise – but which one? Justabout again?

Onto Newbury, and what a tremendous 3-days we have in store providing the snow and frost stay away. The covers have been placed over the whole course, and while todays’ racing is a goer, I’m not so hopeful that the Hennessey meeting on Saturday will take place. There are plenty of decent horses racing over the next 3-days that I’m looking forward to, so the aim is not to be too speculative with the wagers.
The opening race looks a cracker, and there has been money for Henderson’s Super Kenny. Now I know I said earlier in the week that everything Henderson sends out should be considered, but the money for him has pushed out the odds on Pennellis to 7/2. They are both going to be thereabouts, but the value for me in this is Ian William’s GIFTED LEADER with talented 8lb conditional Trevor Whelan aboard at 16/1.
The best race of the day for me is the 2m6½f chase at 2:10. For me, Zarrafakt will need to improve his jumping (from his debut win) to take this with a 7lb penalty. Improvement is also required from Flemish Invader, and Buffalo Bob really wants 3-mile plus. It has to be SOUND STAGE with Geraghty aboard. Fit from hurdling and running well in competitive contests, his last chase run when 2nd to Midnight Chase now reads exceptionally well. Current odds of 8/1 look very tempting.
The novice chase at 3:15 is mouth-watering. I realise Tell Massini ran exceptionally well on his debut, but I would not rule out any of these, especially Henderson’s Be There In Five, who looked to hold huge potential last season.

Selection:
Newbury 12:30 GIFTED LEADER, ½pt eachway @ 16/1 (Ladbrokes, best odds guaranteed)
Newbury 2:10 SOUND STAGE, 1pt eachway @ 8/1 (available generally, B.O.G.)
Total = 3pts staked

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Diamond in the rough

Yesterday’s (Tuesday) Horseracing
The going at Lingfield was particularly testing yesterday. It wasn’t much less testing at Sedgefield, and it paid off to come into the meeting race-fit, as 3 winners had won their most recent race.
Other than that, there was not much to write about yesterday’s racing. There were no selections on the blog yesterday, so the November running total remains in profit with 2.00pts (14pts staked, 14.29%ROI).

Today’s Horseracing
There are two jump meetings, at Chepstow and Wetherby.
The Chepstow meeting looks pretty dire apart from the 3-mile class 3 h’cap hurdle at 2:15. With the going being soft, this race will take some getting. The fav, Radmores Revenge, ran well LTO over 2m4f here, so comes here race-fit but has always struggled at this level in the past. Saintly Lady has not stopped improving since going hurdling in May this year, and won LTO over 3m1f. Unfortunately, she’s been put-up 11lb for that win to OR109, and that was a bit excessive. Young Albert will stay this 3-mile trip on this going (has won on heavy) and is due to be dropped 3lb to OR112 after coming 3rd LTO. In 4th that day was Saphire Night who was having his 1st race in 333-days. He is likely to come on for that run and trainer Tom George does well at Chepstow (7 wins from 27 in hurdles here). Anak tries this trip for the first time, having never finished a race beyond 2m1f in the past, but he will handle the soft going. Stow has never shown any form over this sort of trip. Twiston-Davies runs What A Scientist and he does like a stamina test, but his recent form is poor. Heathcliff returns to hurdling after not taking to chasing, and is on a fair mark if he can rekindle his form of 2008-09. The others look to be outclassed. So, you can see why Radmores Revenge is the fav (a weak one), but SAPHIRE NIGHT at 13/2 looks worthy of some interest. The race is a tricky one tho’ and they could all finish in a heap, so no wager on the race for me.

At Wetherby, there is only the class 3 h’cap chase over 2-mile at 1:50 that catches the eye. I made a note of Riguez Dander last season after he won on heavy at Sedgefield over 2m4f. While I reckon he’s capable of better than he’s shown to date, he was exposed at this trip when 3rd at Perth in April on similar going. DIAMOND FRONTIER on the other hand, is at his best at this minimum trip and is still on the upgrade. For me, current odds of 5/2 look generous, and I expect him to start shorter than this, perhaps even 13/8.

Selection:
Wetherby 1:50 DIAMOND FRONTIER, 1pt win @ 5/2 (available generally, best odds guaranteed)

Yesterday, I made a recommendation about GHIZAO that was met with plenty of comment – at both extremes! Some felt I was well off the mark, others thought that I was correct in my assessment of his ability. What I would say is that Paul Nicholls is a trainer of habit and, having won the Cheltenham race with brilliant 2-miler Azertyuiop, he is unlikely to send a back-number to contest this years renewal. He will think a lot of GHIZAO and had enough confidence in his ability to have a bet on him LTO (see RP comments). If Nicholls has another Arkle chaser in his stable, then it must be very, very good indeed.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Some future potential winners

Yesterday’s (Monday) Racing
Richard Johnson rode a treble from his 5 rides at Ffos Las, giving him stats of 17 wins from 77 rides (22%) in November. Johnson has been riding tremendously well recently and I believe his talent is much under-rated; he is especially good in hurdle and NH flat races.
Nicky Henderson can never be under-estimated at Kempton (50 wins from 177 runners; 28%) and he had hat-trick from his 5 runners there yesterday. Henderson can almost be followed “blind” from 1st November till the end of February as his strike-rate rarely drops below 25% during this 4 month period and you cannot ignore any of his runners, no matter what the market says. Not all goes well for Henderson tho’, his runner ANDYTOWN was a big disappointment; he never liked chasing last time he tried it, and this run was no improvement – back to hurdling!
The terrors of the jumping game were on display at Ludlow when punters supporting odds-on Mud Monkey, the 8/11 Fav, watched him fall at the final fence when leading and holding a clear advantage over his only realistic rival. I would be surprised if he wasn’t trading at under 1.20 at the time on the exchanges. It’s not over till they cross the line, and the fences are there to be jumped!

There were no selections on the blog yesterday, so the November running total remains in profit with 2.00pts (14pts staked, 14.29%ROI); and there are no selections today. The horseracing at the day’s two jump meetings at Sedgefield and Lingfield present no opportunities for a wager.

I have updated the Horse Alert running totals, and if you refer to those pages you can see which of the Chasers & Hurdlers have run to date, which have won and how they all have performed. From the list, there are some decent prospects for the near future with WEIRD AL due to run in the Hennessey on Saturday and QHILIMAR entered for a couple of races this week.

I spent some time perusing the formbook of results for the last 4 weeks or so yesterday and may have found a few interesting horses that you might want to make a note of. First up is an Irish novice chaser called THEGREATJOHNBROWNE. Trainer Noel Meade has thought a lot about this horse for a long time, and he’s won both of his novice chases this season, making-all each time. He could develop into a very exciting chaser over the winter. Next up is YOU KNOW YOURSELF; he won his debut chase, beating a couple of race-fit and experienced winning chasers very easily. He has only been raised 8lb for that, which seems very lenient. The Arkle looks wide open at the moment, with Celestial Halo probably being aimed at a longer trip than 2-mile, and nothing much else yet showing Arkle potential – except one horse, GHIZAO. The more I look at this horse, the more time I spend with the formbook, the more it looks pretty damn good. He was given a speed rating of 129 for his Cheltenham win, yet he won as he liked – unextended. The next race on the card was run 2.12 secs quicker; about 9½lbs (I work on 4½lbs a second). Take off the 2lb more that GHIZAO carried and we have about a 7lb difference. But that race (won by GAUVAIN with FORPADYDEPLASTERER in 2nd) had the main protagonists running at full pelt. Maybe it’s me, but I reckon that GHIZAO is already an OR160+ chaser and that makes him better than anything that ran in the Arkle last March.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Monday, 22 November 2010

Imperious performance from The Commander

Weekend’s horseracing
There was some great racing over the weekend, much of it on Saturday.
There was no way that you could not be impressed by the performance of IMPERIAL COMMANDER at Haydock. The holder of the Gold Cup looked immense. He never looked as tho’ he broke out of a canter – which, considering that he had Nacarat off the bridle 4-out, is almost unbelievable. He was 30lbs ahead of 2nd-fav What A Friend (thru’ Denman: Hennessey GC, 24lbs plus Gold Cup ’10, 6lbs) and maybe that was a simplistic way of looking at the form – but they were the facts leading into the race. Why the SP was as long as 10/11 is beyond me, as I had the “Commander” at 2/5 with the next best at 6’s. When Kauto Star started the last Gold Cup, he was the 8/11 fav, and this performance from IMPERIAL COMMANDER was as good as anything that Kauto has done. So, current odds of 9/2 look more than value for the 2011 Gold Cup, and it doesn’t matter what happens at Kempton on Boxing Day as we know the horse can bounce back with a superlative performance come the Gold Cup.
That was one leg of my double on Saturday; the other leg was not so good. ZAYNAR never looked happy throughout the race, and I noted Geraghty giving the horse a reminder after only a couple of flights. Altho’ talented, I now think the horse cannot be relied upon to do his utmost over hurdles. I’ll take nothing away from the winner, the 4yo SILVINIACO CONTI who looks a great prospect. Ratings are always subject to opinion and I have a lot of respect for the RP ratings. But I cannot consider the laboured performance of Zaynar on Saturday to be an equal of his impressive win in last year’s race, nor of his 3rd in the 2010 Champion Hurdle – this was well off that. Similarly, I do not think that the 3rd horse Restless Harry has ‘out-of-the-blue’ run 11lb better than anything he’s done previously. As such, I don’t rate the winners’ performance as high as RPR, but I do have him on 160+, and that makes the Champion Hurdle even more intriguing. The Festival next March is already eagerly anticipated!
Of the other racing, from my alert list PALYPSO DE CREEK put in a short one before going down when the 5/2 fav for his race at Haydock. Let’s hope his confidence isn’t damaged. Also at Haydock, CLERKS CHOICE ran a stinker considering he looked to hold such an advantage on the ratings, and he now has a serious question to answer (as does the handicapper who rated him OR162).
Back at Ascot, two-time Champion Chase winner MASTER MINDED returned to his best and had this talented field under the cosh a long way out, forcing jumping errors out of Albertas Run who tried to match strides with him till he went down 3-out. In form like this MASTER MINDED is unbeatable and if he could be guaranteed to show the same next March, then the current odds of 3/1 would be a gift – but he’s spat the dummy out before, and he’s one to bet in-running after the 1st-fence next March.
Paul Nicholls sent out 4 winners from 8 runners on Saturday, his final winner coming with Woolcombe Folly at Ascot, for which the change in running-style (covered up early) brought about a marked improvement in form. I was taken with the proximity of CONSIGLIERE who needed his seasonal return last autumn. I also thought that alert horse PICKAMUS ran extremely well till blowing-up approaching 2-out and he looked in need of this race. A return to 20f should see him in the winners enclosure.
Aintree on Sunday saw races over the National course and I was surprised to see Frankie Figg allowed to go off at 10/1 when he was 6/1 in the same race last year which was a stronger renewal than this. So long as he could keep his jumping together this bold front-runner was in with a chance, and so it proved.

That makes blog selections for the month as follows:-
1st November: FREE WORLD, 2pts win, 2nd @ 3/1 - 2pts lost
2nd November: VAMIZI, 1pt win, 3rd @ 100/30 - 1pt lost
3rd November: JUSTABOUT, 1pt win, unplaced @ 9/2 – 1pt lost
4th November: GIFTED LEADER, ½pt eachway, 2nd @ 6/1 – 0.10pts profit
10th November: BUFFALO BOB, ½pt eachway, 2nd @ 13/2 – 0.15pts profit
11th November: MIDNIGHT HAZE, 1pt win, WON @ 9/2 – 4.50pts profit
11th November: JUSTABOUT, 1pt win, WON @ 7/2 – 3.50pts profit
13th November: MAD MAX, 1pt eachway, 4th @ 9/1 – 1.25pts profit
13th November: FINGERONTHEPULSE, ½pt eachway, u/p @ 22/1 – 1pt lost
16th November: PLEIN POUVIOR, 1pt win, unplaced @ 9/2 = 1pt lost
19th November: LE BURF, ½pt win, 3rd @ 6/1 – 0.50pts lost
20th November: IMPERIAL COMMANDER and ZAYNAR, 1pt win double = 1pt lost

November running total = 2.00pts profit (14pts staked, 14.29%ROI)

No racing selections today

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
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Saturday, 20 November 2010

Big day for the big guns

Yesterday’s horseracing
The blog selection yesterday – LE BURF – never looked like being involved in the finish, and didn’t look fit enough to race for that matter. Race winner, QUINZ looked a bit special and probably should be noted next time he runs.
That makes blog selections for the month as follows:-
1st November: FREE WORLD, 2pts win, 2nd @ 3/1 - 2pts lost
2nd November: VAMIZI, 1pt win, 3nd @ 100/30 - 1pt lost
3rd November: JUSTABOUT, 1pt win, unplaced @ 9/2 – 1pt lost
4th November: GIFTED LEADER, ½pt eachway, 2nd @ 6/1 – 0.10pts profit
10th November: BUFFALO BOB, ½pt eachway, 2nd @ 13/2 – 0.15pts profit
11th November: MIDNIGHT HAZE, 1pt win, WON @ 9/2 – 4.50pts profit
11th November: JUSTABOUT, 1pt win, WON @ 7/2 – 3.50pts profit
13th November: MAD MAX, 1pt eachway, 4th @ 9/1 – 1.25pts profit
13th November: FINGERONTHEPULSE, ½pt eachway, unplaced @ 22/1 – 1pt lost
16th November: PLEIN POUVIOR, 1pt win, unplaced @ 9/2 = 1pt lost
19th November: LE BURF, ½pt win, 3rd @ 6/1 – 0.50pts lost
November total = 3.00pts profit

I’ve also noted the following winners this week in the narrative which - if you were a bit more speculative - you may have been on; I’m A Legend @ 7/2; FLEMISH INVADER @ 5/2; and GHIZAO @ 13/2.

Today’s Horseracing
There are three jump meetings today at Haydock, Ascot, Huntingdon.
The feature race of the day is the Betfair Chase, and Imperial Commander should win this race easily, but is priced-up to do so at odds of 10/11, in fact I reckon he should be 2/5, so he looks a near “banker”.
The race at Haydock that I am most interested in the 3-mile h’cap chase at 2:20 as it sees the return of PALYPSO DE CREEK from my Chasers & Hurdlers Alert List. I reckon he is on a cracking mark of OR136 as he was 2nd here at Haydock to Our Vic in the Peter Marsh Chase, and with Charlie Longsdon’s stable in good form, he looks a good bet. Currently available at 5/1 (Ladbrokes).

At Ascot, there is a very strong meeting.
In the Amlin Chase at 2:05, I would oppose odds-on Master Minded as he has not looked the type to stay much further than 17f before and this longer trip, and the fact that the horse has “mental” problems, suggests he’s a no-bet. ALBERTAS RUN won this last season and with wins in the Ryanair and Melling Chase in the Spring, proved that win was no fluke. He has been a model of consistency at this sort of trip and on similar or better going, and he may take all the beating. Only 8 go to post for the Ascot Hurdle at 2:35, and it is hard not to see ZAYNAR winning this. He won it last year and there’s no reason he won’t win again. It will be a big ask for the 4yo Silviniaco Conti who gets only 4lb from Zaynar, and I expect the horse to struggle at this level (tho’ he will improve for the experience) and expect Karabak to follow ZAYNAR home. There will be a 3rd-place spot to fill, and that could go to ASHKAZAR who was travelling very well LTO till finding nothing after the 2nd-last flight in the Elite hurdle and that run should have primed him for this race. The 3:10 2m1f h’cap looks a cracker of a race. If it were 2m4f I would not hesitate to nominate one from my alert list PICKAMUS but this trip may be a little short for him, and it throws the edge to David Pipe’s CONSIGLIERE who is a 2m1f specialist. For him, 2-mile is too short, and anything beyond is too far – he needs it just right. Even so, he needed a race last season, and Pipe’s horse’s look like they’ve all needed a run lately, so its PICKMUS for me.

Selection:
I am going for a win double today as I reckon both the big races will be won by the fav, and their odds are excellent considering the formbook.
Ascot 2:35 ZAYNAR @ 6/4 and
Haydock 3:25 IMPERIAL COMMANDER @ 10/11
(both with Ladbrokes, best odds guaranteed)
1pt win double

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Friday, 19 November 2010

AFSOUN to rekindle old memories

Yesterday’s horseracing
I didn’t make any firm blog selections yesterday, but the narrative led readers to a nice winner in I’M A LEGEND who won @ 7/2 by a short-head. It was a tremendously game performance, and I don’t think his winning streak is over based on that run and he should be able to withstand a rating hike.
YOUNGSTOWN – the other horse mentioned on the blog – needs further than 3-mile as had no pace left at the end of this race.

Today’s Horseracing
There are three jump meetings today at Ascot, Exeter and Musselburgh.
At Ascot, on paper the races look attractive, but there are not enough horses entered to make it interesting. The beginners chase at 1:35 sees a horse I followed last season run – FREDO. After failing at Newbury last Feb, I thought he didn’t stay 3-mile, but then he went and won NTO at Haydock over 3-mile on soft. I feel he will take a lot of beating today, but in novice chases you can never be too sure. The class 3 h’cap chase at 2:35 only has 4 runners, so much will depend on the race tactics employed. If Five Dream exploits his stamina and makes a race of it then he should win comfortably, but if they race at a dawdle then it could go to the outsider of the quarter, Russian Flag.
Jockey Liam Treadwell has had a hard time of it since winning the Grand National on Mon Mome. He could ride a winner this afternoon tho’ (and a welcome one for him at that too) on LE BURF in the 3:20. LE BURF is much better going right-handed and this 3-mile chase on good-to-soft will suit him well. The market is made by Quinz who won a very weak beginners chase LTO, and I think he’s been seriously over-rated. So, odds of 6/1 on LE BURF look good value.
In the last race on the card, my eye was caught by 2007 Champion Hurdle 3rd AFSOUN racing off OR145 carrying top-weight of 11:12. It’s a long time since he won a hurdle, but he wasn’t beaten much last January in the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock last January, which was the last time he ran over 2-mile over jumps. He ran well for his new stable on the flat LTO, and I reckon he’ll surprise today 33/1 and “nick” a place.

At Exeter, the 3-mile hurdle at 1:15 looks a race to watch and take note of. Should provide a rich seam of pointers.

I cannot see anything of interest at Musselburgh and with time now limited for form-study with racing starting at 12:25, it means I have to sign-off early.

Selection
Ascot 3:20 LE BURF, ½pt win @ 6/1 (Ladbrokes, best odds guaranteed)

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks.
Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
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Thursday, 18 November 2010

FLEMISH INVADER makes it 11 from 34 for NTD at Warwick

Yesterday’s horseracing
I didn’t make a firm blog selection yesterday, but the narrative led readers to a nice winner in FLEMISH INVADER who won @ 5/2 by 8-lengths.
That makes Twiston-Davies stats at Warwick 11 winners from 34 runners in chase races. There were question-marks over most in the race, so perhaps I was being a little harsh suggesting he was only worth a small each-way wager. He went into the race on the back of a good recent run demonstrating he was fit and running off a OR from which he was capable of winning, and yesterday’s race was the weakest he’d run in for some time. He was supported in the market all morning and connections clearly thought he had a good chance. Even so, the horse is a quirky character and rider Paddy Brennan deserves praise for this winner.

The other horse mentioned on the blog – Bygones Of Brid – jumped well enough and contested the lead to the 2nd-last after which he was quickly brought to a halt and pulled-up. Fairly odd for a 4/7 Fav, and trainer Karen McLintock had no real explanation after the race. He’s entered for the Fighting Fifth Hurdle on 27-Nov (holds no realistic chance in that) and it may be that his future is still undecided, and a return to hurdling may be on the cards.

Today’s Horseracing
There are three jump meetings today at Hereford, Market Rasen and Wincanton.
There’s nothing much of interest at Hereford, and at Wincanton only I’M A LEGEND takes my eye, but he’s racing off a career-high rating of OR115, and much will depend on whether the 8yo still has improvement in him to make the hat-trick today.
I reckon YOUNGSTOWN will win his race at Market Rasen (the 2:10). He looked capable of running at a higher level last season when the going was soft or worse and so the Good-to-Firm going was against him LTO. With the benefit of that run and and more suitable going today, he will prove hard to beat.
However, I do not like having wagers in races with less than 6 runners as those sort of races can get too tactical and there can be surprise results. Even so, current odds of 15/8 look more than fair, and if you can get longer odds then I’d take them.

That’s it for today. I’ve a busy day planned with several meetings and have to get on.

You may have noticed that I’ve changed the payment vehicle for “donations” from Google to Paypal as I was advised that was a friendlier interface. Also, I have removed a standard “fee” for donations, and you can now donate what you want to. The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain, what with result analysis, race selection, form study, watching racing videos, contacting trainers and the like; as well as the time actually writing this blog and posting it up. While I enjoy doing it, and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too, there has to be some incentive to keep it alive. I am sure that readers will find the content beneficial and if you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. I am happy to say that since including the “donation” button, I have received a couple of donations and many thanks to those concerned.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Something for the weekend

Yesterday’s horseracing
The blog selection PLEIN POUVOIR was totally outclassed yesterday.
It turned-out to be a decent chase for the level, with Raymond showing that he had continued to improve from last season but, even with that improvement, he could not hold off the chase debutant ZARRAFAKT. Emma Lavelle certainly has her horses in the peak of form (she also had a winner with her other runner of the day, Penny Max, which was odds-on at 1/4) and she ended the day with form figures of 9 winners from her last 14 runners. ZARRAFAKT made several jumping errors during the race, and did not cleanly jump the last 2 fences but, even so, won in a canter just having to be shaken-up by jockey Sam Thomas after jumping the last fence. This performance suggests the horse is a OR140+ chaser.

Today’s Horseracing
There are two jump meetings today at Hexham and Warwick.
Much of the racing is poor at Warwick, even the class 4 h’cap chase at 1:30 which is the only race that I’ve examined this morning. This looks like one of the weakest class 4 chases’s that I’ve seen recently, and there are question marks over most, if not all, of the runners. As such, I won’t be recommending a wager on this race, but I am taken by the strike-rate of Twiston-Davies (NTD) at Warwick in chase races; 10 wins from 33 runners in past 5 seasons. He has FLEMISH INVADER in this race with Paddy Brennan riding (who has a 27% strike-rate in chase races for NTD). FLEMISH INVADER spent much of last season racing in much stronger races than this and was fairly consistent, if one-paced. As such, his rating remained on OR110. For his seasonal debut 41-days ago, he ran off OR104 in a class 4 chase over 23f and was unlucky not to win. Today’s trip (2m4f & 110yds) is more to his liking, and both times he’s won have been on similar going. He can get outpaced mid-race and has not shown the ability to recover if that happens, so current odds of 7/2 are not enough. I’d be looking for 5/1+ and if that’s available then he’s worth a small eachway wager.

At Hexham there is a good novice chase at 1:40 with several potential high class novices entered. I was very taken with the performances of BYGONES OF BRID last season as the horse did not stop improving after beating Ferdy Murphy’s Going Wrong at Newcastle in November and ended up rated OR142 as a hurdler when 4th in the Grade 2 novice hurdle at Aintree to Peddlers Cross. His trainer Karen McLintock has only had one other runner in a chase race, so I expect she has spent some considerable effort to make sure she’s not embarrassed today with this horse, who I think has a tremendous amount of potential. BYGONES OF BRID was easily the best of these over hurdles by about 20lb, so it all depends on how he takes to the jumps. The heavy going should not pose too much of a problem, but for the remainder of the card – because of the going – I’m giving it a miss.

Something for the weekend
There is some good racing this weekend at Haydock and Ascot on Saturday and Aintree on Sunday. In the Betfair Chase at Haydock, IMPERIAL COMMANDER is so far ahead of the others in the race on ratings that - in my opinion – he should start at odds of 2/5 as his only real possibility of defeat is if he falls or suffers some other mishap. It’s likely the going will prove too soft to see the best of Nacarat and he may not be in the 1st-3. I expect What a Friend to come 2nd, but for 3rd spot I was taken by the recent winning performance of MASSINI’S MAGUIRE (currently @ 20’s) who is expected to have come on a lot for that run and will be ridden with more confidence now that his stamina for 3-mile is proven.

Saturday’s Ascot Hurdle odds were put up yesterday afternoon, and ZAYNAR was a stand-out at 9/4; unfortunately as I write this those odds have gone and now he’s best-priced at 7/4. The one that I think could follow Zaynar home is ASHKAZAR, who was cruising LTO when approaching the 2nd-last in the Elite Hurdle. Unfortunately, he probably needed that run as he found little when asked that day. The 2m3f trip of the Ascot Hurdle and the likely going will be just right for this winner of the Imperial Cup and Kingwell hurdles, as will the strong pace that the race is likely to be run in. Again, when prices went up yesterday, 20/1 was available, and that has been taken in some places, but is still available with Hills and Corals.

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Thanks from Wayward Lad

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Venetia Williams makes long trip to Folkestone

Yesterday’s horseracing
After the brilliant racing of the weekend, there was little to set the juices flowing yesterday.
I was right to avoid a wager on the 17f h’cap chase at Plumpton as it went to chase debutant Mister Stickler whose win brought in the hat-trick for trainer Alan King. The horse that most interested me in the race was Owner Occupier (was 9/1 in the morning) who started at 12/1. He was well there, having led most, when falling 4-out and although I don’t think he’d have won (Mister Stickler looks capable of going-on from this) I reckon he could have held-on to be 3rd.

Other news:
The 25/1 available on GAUVAIN for the Champion Chase with William Hill has now been snapped-up, with the best odds now being 14/1.
Kauto Star has been confirmed as going straight to Kempton on Boxing Day for the King George, thereby missing the Hennessey. While this is good news for Kauto fans, it puts a lot of pressure on Denman in the Hennessey where he’ll carry 11st 12lb again.

Today’s Horseracing
There are two fairly ordinary meetings today at Fakenham and Folkestone.
There is nothing I fancy at Fakenham.
The going at Folkestone is soft/heavy. There is only one race here that captures my interest and that’s the 2m5f Class 3 h’cap chase at 2:40. Only 7 runners, and Oncle Kid and Gaora Lane don’t look capable of winning anything. Stradbrook didn’t take to fences when last seen over them and did not find his old form when reverting to hurdles – can’t have. Zarrafakt is sent by inform trainer Emma Lavelle (7 wins from 12 runners last 14-days) but, as such, odds of 11/4 don’t reflect the chance of this chasing debutant, and personally I do not think his hurdle form last season was up to much. Raymond and Sporting Rebel will battle it out for the lead from the off (or should do on known form) and that should set things up for PLEIN POUVIOR. Trainer Venetia Williams has found the winners enclosure a couple of times recently, and she is 5 wins from 21 runners in chases at Folkestone. The trip of 21f and soft/heavy going are what PLEIN POUVIOR need to show his best form and hopefully, he’ll stalk the leaders and pick them off close to home. Unfortunately, PLEIN POUVIOR opened at 11/2 early this morning, but has already seen support and is now best-priced at 9/2. With only 7 runners there is not much point in going each-way, so I’ll recommend a small wager on PLEIN POUVIOR.

Selection:
Folkestone 2:40 PLEIN POUVIOR, 1pt win @ 9/2 (don’t take any less)

The Tote Ten To Follow (TTTF)
The weekend’s racing at Cheltenham must have really messed-up a lot of entries. Neither LITTLE JOSH nor GAUVAIN were on the list of horses able to be chosen. If they both continue to maintain their form then there will be a lot more pressure to find the winners of the some of the more “obscure” races through the remainder of the season, especially if Little Josh follows-up in the Boylesports and Gauvain wins the Champion Chase and one or another of this seasons other top 2-mile chases. As for my lines, they are already looking a bit weary as I heavily banked-on Mad Max and Poquelin, and (unfortunately) decided against including Weird Al who’s deat-heat with Little Josh at Carlisle is now looking like top-notch form.

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Monday, 15 November 2010

Early Festival ante-post advice

Yesterday’s horseracing
Another tremendous day’s racing at Cheltenham yesterday, with the highlight being MENORAH winning the Greatwood H’cap Hurdle with top-weight of 11st 12lb. When any horse carries over 11st to victory in this race it pays to take note – recent winners of the race carrying 11st-plus include Rooster Booster, Detroit City, and Sizing Europe. This was a sterling performance from MENORAH, who again defied his doubters (me included). He has now put up 3 excellent performances; the 1st when winning the novice hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day in a time faster than the grade 1 Christmas hurdle later on the card; the 2nd when winning the Supreme Novices at the Festival; and now winning the Greatwood with top-weight. This horse is no fluke.

Somewhere in the West Country is a horse by the name of Bobby Ewing, who beat Menorah by 10 lengths last December over 20f, and hasn’t run again since.

Earlier on the card, the 2-mile novice chase was won by Paul Nicholls GHIZAO @ 13/2. This was the 5th time in the last 9 years that Nicholls has sent out the winner of this race. On that basis, I told readers not to underestimate its chances – and I was spot on! Not so for the next race when I expected Forpadydeplasterer to win convincingly as he held a 12lb advantage on official ratings. I did not expect Nick Williams to produce GAUVAIN from a 576-day break to win this. A brilliant training performance and the horse must now be on the shortlist for the Champion Chase next March. William Hills are 25/1 for the Champion Chase and there’s not much ahead of him in the betting for that for GAUVAIN to be afraid of. If you’re in the market for antepost bets, I’d have a nibble at those odds; perhaps ½pt eachway.

Today’s Horseracing
Typical Monday fare with a meeting at my local track at Plumpton and another at Leicester.
I cannot get excited about anything at Leicester, although the novice chase over 2-mile at 2:20 was won a couple of years ago by Kalahari King.
Plumpton looks no better to be fair.
The 2m1f h’cap chase at 2:30 looks the best betting medium on offer. I lost a fair amount last season following Amble Forge after a promising early run when 2nd to Green Belt Elite at Chepstow. He ran up to that level again at Warwick when he really should have won – but between those 2 races, he ran at Plumpton and what a stinker that was! As such, I cannot have him. I never like supporting horses on their chase debut, so can’t have Mister Stickler. For me it’s between Abey M’boy and Owner Occupier who have both won their only chase start to date. The others will need the run, or want further than this 17f trip. Current odds of 9/1 (with Sportingodds, 5th odds a place 1-2-3) look fair; but it’s a trappy race and on the balance of things, I’m passing it over.

I’ve added a “checkout” to the blog. I’ve been writing this regularly for over 6-months and I believe that along with the information and comment (all my own opinion) I’ve put readers onto some decent wagers. I’m hoping to be able to continue the efforts over the winter culminating in a successful Cheltenham Festival. I know that more than a few readers won with my selections last week and, if you feel in the mood to be generous, go to the checkout and drop a couple of quid in the hat. The blog will continue to be available for as long as I’ve the time to write it, and will always be free to visitors. Currently, the blog has about 70 regular daily readers and catches another 50+ daily browsers.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham

Yesterday’s horseracing
It was a big day yesterday, with reputations won and lost in the field.
Sam Twiston-Davies came of age with a tremendous ride on Little Josh to take the Paddy Power H’cap chase, making all and running-out a convincing winner. He gave supporters a scare when he faltered up the hill after the last, but he held such an advantage it was impossible to peg back. Of the others in the race, Long Run was exposed and never looked comfortable in such a big field making several jumping errors. My selection, MAD MAX looked like being the one to give the eventual winner most to think about when jumping the 3rd last, but he too lacked the stamina to finish the race. I did think he’d excel today and go on to be a 3-mile chaser, but on this display 20f is his limit. He did provide a 0.25pt profit on the day for the blog, the November points total now standing at 4.50pts.

After Friday’s “tweet” success with Lacdoudal, I really should have followed-up that formline and gone for MIDNIGHT CHASE but I thought he would not appreciate the rain-softened ground. But, with 3 wins on heavy over hurdles (his only failure on that extreme going being on his 2nd chase run this time last year when he was still learning his new “trade”), I was barking up the wrong tree. This was a phenomenal performance from the 8yo, carrying 11st 9lb, and unless the handicapper puts him up to over OR160 (which would mean a rise of 14lb) then he must be capable of following-up.

Gentle Ranger in the same race ran ok till about the 10th fence after which he just about packed-in. This was a disappointing run, so let’s hope that David Pipe can get to the bottom of this problem and get the horse back on track – it may have been the going was too soft for him. Of the others, OGEE was looking very menacing at the top o’ the hill, where he made a bad error and that did for him. The fact the mistake took so much out of him suggests the horse was not fit enough, so that augers well for him NTO when he’ll no doubt strip a lot fitter for this run.

As for the rest of the racing, I was on the ball about WAYWARD PRINCE, but he was a tad fortunate with the fall of Chicago Grey at the 2nd-last. Even so, this winner of the Grade-1 Sefton novices hurdle over 3-mile-plus wasn’t stopping and it’s likely he’d have won anyway. He looks a good prospect.

At Wetherby, Pistol Basc maintained his advantage over Archie’s Wish (as expected) but could not hold the debut chase runner YOU KNOW YOURSELF who was giving Pistol Basc 5lb – this was a very taking performance and the horse should follow-up.

Today’s Horseracing
Another day at Cheltenham beckons, though there are also meetings at Fontwell and Market Rasen.
The opening race is a cracker, and Paul Nicholls has won it 4 times in the past 8 years so, despite his entry Ghizao being the outsider of 5 runners at 6/1, I would not underestimate its chances.
The next race is also a 2-mile chase, and we see the FORPADYDEPLASTERER return to racing. It is hard to believe that this excellent and talented chaser has come 2nd in 9 of his last 10 races – his only win when just holding off Kalahari King in the Arkle of 2009. He is 12lb ahead of the next best (Tataniano) on official ratings, so he should win this in a canter so at odds of 7/4 he looks good value as we’ve seen horses with less chance go off at lot shorter odds recently.
The Greatwood Hurdle has in recent years had a big impact on the Champion Hurdle the following Spring. Of those at the head of the handicap, I consider GET ME OUT OF HERE to be better than Menorah and, but for a slightly ill-timed run, he’d have won the Supreme Novices at the Festival. I would not want to oppose GET ME OUT OF HERE with anything carrying more than 11st today; so any dangers will come from improvers at the bottom of the handicap. There is only one really, and that’s SURE JOSIE SURE who beat Nearby LTO in April. Since then, Nearby has been a revelation, but you have to assume that for that horse it’s all come right this year. As such, GET ME OUT OF HERE is the one I’d be on, but odds of 13/2 leave little margin for error. So, no wager on this race.
The class 2 h’cap hurdle looks a watching race, as any one of half a dozen could win this race.
The 2m5f Grade 1 novice hurdle looks a winning opportunity for FINAL DAY. He won here over C&D last month in impressive style and at odds of 4/1 he is the value in the race.

No official blog selections today, but I expect FORPADYDEPLASTERER and FINAL DAY to win their races, and GET ME OUT OF HERE to be in the 1st-3.

Lastly, blog writer “The Laird” with his blog on Sprinterstogo (see adjacent link) had his 5th winning nap in succession with TAKE TEN @ 3/1 yesterday. The Laird specialises in 5f & 6f sprints only, and he has his finger on the pulse in that medium. Take a look at his blog if you haven’t done so before.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Saturday, 13 November 2010

A long-shot for the Paddy Power

Yesterday’s horseracing
No selections on the blog yesterday, but anyone who follows my tweets on twitter will know that at about 12:30pm, I tweeted the following;
“Is it just me, but is LACDOUDAL looking a decent wager in the X-country? 3rd at Fest, stays all day and last won on Good-to-Firm”
LACDOUDAL won a thrilling race at 9/2, having been 6/1 when I made the tweet.
I am not taking that winner into my profit and loss calculation, so the November total remains up 4.25pts for the month

I was very impressed with DAVE’S DREAM in winning the 2-mile handicap as he slaughtered this field once they started downhill, and skipped over the final 2 fences like they were hurdles. CUE CARD also impressed, and he is now 3/1 for the Supreme Novices at the Festival and (unbelievably) is 20/1 for the Champion Hurdle. Please, do not be tempted by those Champion Hurdle odds as he’s not even the best 4yo hurdler we’ve seen this autumn – that honour goes to Clerks Choice currently rated OR162. Nicky Henderson had a double on the day when Aegean Dawn won, and that’s 4 winners from 8 runners in 3 days – does it auger well for Saturday? By-the-way, AEGEAN DAWN absolutely hacked-up.

Today’s Horseracing

There are three jump meetings today, at Cheltenham, Uttoxeter and Wetherby, but again, all focus will be on Cheltenham. The going is heavy at Uttoxeter, so I’ll give that meeting a miss. At Wetherby, PISTOL BASC should maintain the advantage over Archie’s Wish despite being 7lb worse-off as - over this shorter trip - he is proven and has that turn-of-foot required to win races. Odds of 9/4 look value.

Onto Cheltenham, and the winner of the opening 3yo juvenile hurdle should be noted as some really good horses have won this race in past years. Similarly, the next race on the card, a 3-mile novice chase has also been won by some really good horses, including Comply Or Die and Albertas Run. I would not want to call the winner of this, tho’ Wayward Prince looks destined for the top-table.

The next is the 3m 3f & 110yds h’cap chase, a real endurance test. Do not ignore young horses; in the past 8 years it’s been won by 2 x 5yo’s and 2 x 6yo’s. That said, the 10yo Character Building last won here when taking the Kim Muir at the 2009 Festival, and this trip and going will really suit him. He’s fit from racing 3-weeks ago and has the master in the saddle, AP McCoy. Lacdoudal winning y’day gave a big boost to his conqueror Midnight Chase, but I fear the rain-softened going may catch him out. Ogee has won 3 of his 6 chases, and was almost certainly over-cooked when he last ran at Aintree. This course, the trip and going will all suit him, and he goes well fresh. Off OR142, it may have been a mistake to leave him out of my 10-2-Follow entries. One off my horse alert list is Gentle Ranger, and he did not enjoy the soft going LTO, but he runs really well at Cheltenham and I prefer him to the other Pipe entry, Junior who may be daunted by this number of opponents (he’s never won a jump race with more than 7 runners). Any Currency will be staying on for the final mile, but will he catch the leaders? For me, GENTLE RANGER at 16/1 is the value, especially as David Pipe reckons he could be a Welsh National winner come December.
As this horse is already on my horse alert list and subject to a standard 1pt eachway wager, I will not be doubling-up with a selection stake as well. I expect the 1st-4 to feature Ogee, Character Building, Any Currency and GENTLE RANGER.

The feature race of the day is the Paddy Power Gold Cup, and it is eagerly awaited. There are 20 runners; all primed to win this race, so finding the winner is no walk in the park. Winning form at Cheltenham is a big-plus factor for this race (16 of the last 20 winners of the PPower has won previously at Cheltenham). Of the course winners, SUNNYHILLBOY at 12/1 looks to be the best value, but what puts me off is that only a handful of jockeys have ridden the winners of this race in the past 10 years; McCoy x 3, Timmy Murphy x 2, with top jocks Mick Fitzgerald, Barry Geraghty and Paddy Brennan filling the saddle on the other years. The only other jock being AJ McNamara last year on Tranquil Sea, but that horse loved the mud and got it last year. Because jockeyship is so important in this race, I am swaying away from the fav Long Run, and erring towards MAD MAX, GREAT ENDEAVOUR, and FINGER ON THE PULSE (Pidgeon Island is too unpredictable). MAD MAX was running a cracker in the Arkle at the Festival till hitting the 2nd-last hard, but he recovered and ran on. He is my idea of the winner, and I expect Sunnyhillboy, Great Endeavour, and Fingeronthepulse to fill the places. Long Run I think will struggle for several reasons; his jockey’s inexperience, and the fact that it has so little racing amongst big, competitive fields here in the UK.
Note: some bookmakers are paying place-odds on 5 places – Ladbrokes, Betfred and Paddy Power, plus some online bookies.

Selection:
Cheltenham 2:35 MAD MAX, 1pt eachway @ 9/1
(Ladbrokes, 5-places, best odds guaranteed)
Cheltenham 2:35 FINGERONTHEPULSE, ½pt eachway @ 22/1
(Ladbrokes, 5-places, best odds guaranteed)
Total = 3pts staked

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad