Welcome to the World of Horseracing

Record of the blog selections

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


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

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

Total Staked = £609.00


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advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

TOMBI to the rescue

From the 3 trainers in form who I highlighted yesterday I gave you 1 winner in AVRILO - but suggested it was a "no bet" - and my selection from the trio, NORTH CAPE was beaten having set the race up for the 'danger' (which I highlighted). The other runner - DADS AMIGO - was outclassed as expected.

It seems that I'm finding winners with this selection procedure, but they are not coming from where I'm expecting. Perhaps it may be best to place a wager on all the qualifiers. Let's see what we have today.

There are 23 trainers "in form" - that is having achieved places from 40% of their runners and at least 3 winner in the past 14-days (see Sporting Life stats). Of those 23 trainers, just 4 have single entries today:-
A Bailey in the 3:30 at Haydock AUTUMN BLADES
J Gosden in the 4:30 at Newmarket KEY WEST
J Howard Johnson in the 4:15 at Beverley TOMBI
Al Zarooni in the 4:30 at Newmarket ECLIPTIC

The Newmarket race at 4:30 looks very hot and with a double-entry from the qualifiers is a no-bet situation (no doubt this will ccome back to bite me). AUTUMN BLADES looks totally outclassed in the John O' Gaunt Stakes at Haydock, so it has to be a no-bet; but then again at 66/1 is may be worth a tickle on the place-only market. TOMBI looks very interesting in the 4:15 at Beverley. This will be only his 3rd 5f race. In his 2nd he was badly hampered and did not recover, so that can be ignored. In his 1st 5f race he ran Morinqua to under 2-lengths at York as a 3yo. Todays Good-to-Firm is his going and he could be a real surprise in this race. He's 16/1 with Betfred and 14's generally - I'd take it win & place.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Candy-man comes North

A good day yesterday for my "OROD" (only runner of day) trend-spotter. It produced 2 winners (at odds of 15/8 and 9/4) from just 4 possibles in WHERE'S ROMEO and DINKIM DIAMOND. I readily admit I didn't make either one a selection yesterday, but I did say the fav in the race won by DINKUM DIAMOND - that fav was Cape To Rio - should be opposed as it was most likely not to enjoy the Good-to-Firm going being by Cape Rio, and that's what proved.

There's lots of racing to choose from today with 3 meetings this afternoon at Brighton (my local track), Newcastle and Newmarket; and 3 evening meetings at Haydock and Pontefract with Stratford over the jumps. With 39 races and about 400 horses entered to run, you cannot hope to analyse each race sufficiently - you have to either specialise in a particular type of race, or look for an angle that you consider will give you an edge. If you can find the winner in 1 race from every 4 you have a wager on, and that winner is at odds of 7/2 (4.50 in decimals) or greater, then you are making a profit long-term. That's what its all about, outside of the pleasure of racing.

For days like this, and for flat-racing in particular, I rely on statistics - mainly trainer statistics. As of this morning, there are 21 trainers on the flat who have achieved a 40%+ placed strike-rate from their stable with at least 3 winners in the past 14-days. It may come as a surprise to learn that Sir Michael Stoute is not among that group - he's had just 1 winner from his last 14 runners. But Stoute sends a single runner 244 miles to Newcastle today where he's sent only 10 runners in the past 5 seasons and 3 of that 10 have won. Will Sposalizio win today? If it does, it wont have my money on it as I cannot remember when Sir Michael Stoute last had a runner in a class 6 3yo maiden auction. The Newcastle card looks a nightmare for punters, all class 6 and class 5 races, and is best left alone unless someone "in the know" gives you the nod.

There are 7 trainers with a 40% placed strike-rate with single runners today, and 4 of them send their only runner for the same race; the 2:20 at Newmarket. They are
Alan Bailey with On Wings Of Love,
Paul D'Arcy with Pearl Haven,
Ed Dunlop with Volcanic Dust, and
John Gosden with Apazine.
This looks a race to watch and take note of as it seems its being hotly contested.

The other 3 trainers will single runners are:-
MS Saunders with AVRILO in the 2:00 at Brighton,
DH Brown with DADS AMIGO in the 7:30 at Pontefract,
H Candy with NORTH CAPE in the 6:30 at Pontefract.

I am going to pass-over AVRILO because I reckon it only just gets 5 furlongs and the extra 59 yards may find him out. Also, Ask Jenny is due to go up 5lb in its next race for its recent win, and Brighton course-specialise Magical Speedfit looks primed for a big run after coming a close-up 3rd here yesterday over 6-furlongs which is too far for him. If anything, I'd lay AVRILO as its currently 5/2 and will likely start shorter, and I make it a 4/1 chance. There's nothing else that interests me at Brighton.

Henry Candy's NORTH CAPE looks to hold a decent chance at Pontefract, given he's come 175 miles for this race. Dropped from 10f to a mile for this, he will almost certainly go from the front and make it a stiff stamina test. That may well set the race up for a finisher, and on the formbook that should be course-winner Harriet's Girl but his regular jockey has deserted him for stablemate Chief Red Cloud and at the weights Harriet's Girl holds the better chance. That "confusion" allied with only 1 win from 21 runners in past 14-days from their trainer JR Weymes pushed me more towards NORTH CAPE. Currently 5/2 in a place, I would not take less than that, but I reckon you may get better nearer the off.

DADS AMIGO meets a handful of decent 2yo's in what looks a hot conditions race, and he'll need to improve 20lb on his debut win to take this.

So, just the one selection: NORTH CAPE in the 6:30 at Pontefract - take 5/2+

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Another day, another dollar?

The more I watched yesterdays selection SIRENUSE run, the more annoyed I got. Its one I have to put down to experience and its a valuable lesson to those reading this blog that the "best" horse in the race may not win due to other factors, and that's why you have to only wager money at odds that represent value. I can accept a horse getting beaten, but I did expect it to lead well into the final furlong and that in-running odds would go below 1.80. If you read my comments attached to yesterdays blog you will see that I was happy with the debut chase run of OVERSPIN (not a selection this one, more one to note for the future) as he jumped the 1st-8 fences perfectly well, before crumpling on landing at the 9th. Keep an eye out for his next run.

Some ordinary racing around the country today, but there is a very good meeting at Sandown. And its there that we may have an opportunity with the only runner of the day from a trainer in-form: Henry Candy's DINKUM DIAMOND in the 6:35. Now, I am not one for 2yo races and so I am not going to make this a blog selection; but the good-to-firm going will not suit the fav Cape To Rio who is by Captain Rio (and will want to get his toe in the ground). Its worth opposing the fav at these odds.

There are only 4 trainers "in-form" (ie, with 40% of runners in the places in past 14-days) with single runners out today, and along with Henry Candy we have runners from:-
RM Beckett - MISS MITTAGONG in the 9:15 at Newcastle
Ed Dunlop - DECENCY in the 5:30 at Wolverhampton (AW)
DH Brown - WHERES ROMEO in the 2:20 at Ayr

Of those, I like the chance of MISS MITTAGONG best as it travels 328 miles to Newcastle. But, Brannagh in the same race travels 245 miles for this and it looks a tricky race. DECENCY is running in a class 6 race, and those should be avoided like the plague. WHERES ROMEO is another 2yo and, at this stage of the season, young horses can improve 20lb in a matter of days so its not really realistic to be making selections.

So, another day without a wager and one to watch and savour.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Eclipse Magazine

For anyone who may be interested in racing's social side I recommend a visit to the Eclipse Magazine website: www.eclipsemagazine.co.uk

There are a few decent, free-to-enter competitions plus other offers. Take a look and take advantage.

Back-to-Lay potential

Keeping the money in the wallet was the way to go yesterday as none of those discussed on the blog came anywhere near winning. The potential “place-lay” AVITUS was un-placed, but the place-odds never came near the odds of less-than 2.30 that I advised taking, they hovered around 2.70-2.90. So, despite it being a successful selection, I’m not taking that one.

I take the view that if someone is browsing, and reads my blog, then there needs to be a guide as to what odds to take. You cannot advise a bet or lay “at any price” as there comes a point in any wager where the risk outweighs the potential gain and becomes uneconomic. For instance, I rated AVITUS a 10/1 chance to win the race, and a 100/30 (4.30 on the exchanges) chance to be placed. I then factored in the betting-market support (it started with an SP of 6/1), hence arriving at the advised odds of <2.30.

Today’s racing looks ordinary fare, and the good-to-firm going seems to have taken a toll on the number of declared runners. Only 2 trainers with a 40%+ strike-rate in the past 14-days have single runners out today: Beckett has a 2yo making its debut in the 2:30 at Ffos Las called Pabusar which I will give a miss; and Brian Smart sends his only runner today SIRENUSE to Ayr, a trip from stable to course of 191 miles, for the 4:25. SIRENUSE has been highlighted by another blog that I monitor – http://sprinterstogo.blogspot.com – so, the fact that it meets my trainer-in-form spec and also holds a strong chance on its own race-form makes it a selection today. SIRENUSE should lead from the stalls and try to make all, as such it looks the perfect “back-to-lay” proposition. Currently 3/1 (from 7/2), the advice I make is to take those odds on the exchanges (4.00+) and place a lay-bet to keep in-running to recover your stake at 1.80. I would not take less than 11/4 (3.80 on the exchanges). There is a one horse in the race I’m worried about and that’s City Dancer who has been the subject of a lot of support this morning from 12’s in to 7’s, and she probably needs 6-furlongs (todays trip is 5-furlongs) and will be finishing very strongly.

One other horse that is worth noting is at Southwell this evening in the 7:20, and that’s OVERSPIN. Not a selection this one, but it caught my eye as two of its half-brothers were much better chasers than hurdlers (approx. 20lb better) and both won over todays trip at Southwell, with the trainer (Paul Webber) of OVERSPIN handling one of them, Spinaround. I would not want to take on the fav in this race, but if OVERSPIN takes to fences then a surprise result is not out of the question.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Never look a gift horse in the mouth!

From the 2 selections I put up yesterday there was a winner at 13/8 with TRIPLE ASPECT (odds of 9/4 was available before the off) and a 2nd at 11/2 with SISTER EARTH.

There are several trainers in-form with only a single runner out today:-
Michael Bell sends BLUE ZEALOT 182 miles to to Ripon for the 4:40, but Michael Hills sends his only runner today MUSIC MAESTRO 214 miles for the same race! This looks a competitive 3yo maiden and probably a race to watch and note rather than bet on.
John Dunlop sends SPRING HEATHER to Chepstow for the 4:50 but this class 6 looks a dire race - full of dodgepots.
And Willie Haggas sends his only runner of the day to Lingfield, REDDEN in the 4:00. This looks to have the best chance on form, but I am never happy siding with a horse having his first run on the AW. So, all-in-all, a day to keep the money in the pocket.

There's been a bit of a market move for AVITUS in the 2:40 at Ripon, probably as its trainer Micky Hammond has his stable in good form. But this horse has just about the worst of the draw and will need to have improved a fair bit on his last run to be involved here today. As such, if he shortens a bit more he may be worth place-laying at less than 2.30 on the place-only market.

There was a win for England over Mexico last night, but for me the value in the World Cup betting is ARGENTINA @ 8/1.

Sprinterstogo

Sprinterstogo

This is an interesting blog focusing on sprint races in the UK. Picked up last nights winner @ 7/2 ANNE OF KIEV (see Sundays blog), and gave a good preview of the sprint handicaps at the weekend.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Winners all round!

CANFORD CLIFFS repaid my faith in his ability with a storming win in the Irish Guineas at the Curragh. The subject of significant support on the day from 3/1 in the morning to an SP of 9/4, the result was never in any doubt.

It was also a successful weekend for trainers in-form having solitary runners from their stables. I was not able to provide the list of stables on Saturday morning before racing, but its not difficult to find out which trainers are in form.
1) Visit Sportinglife.com Stats tables for trainer-form over previous 14-days;
2) Note those trainers with a 40%-plus strike-rate for win or place;
3) From that list, note those trainers with a single race entry for today.

Over the weekend, 5 trainers with a 40% plus strike-rate sent out just one runner on the day, they were.
Sir Michael Stoute - result WON @ 3/1
Andrew Balding - result WON @ 9/4
Michael Dodds - result lost
TD Barron - result lost
W Haggas - result lost
Other trainers with a 40%-plus strike-rate who sent out 2 or more runners on either Saturday or Sunday included:
Henry Cecil - 2 winners from 2 runners on Sat @ 9/2 and 2/1
Michael Bell - 2 runners on Sat with a winner @ 8/1.

This is a system that finds a regular supply of winners, and today there are quite a few qualifiers. Those that look to have the best chance of success in my opinion are:-

J Gosden (3 - 9 - 29 = 41.3%) who sends SISTER EARTH for the 5:30 at Leicester;
W Haggas (3 - 7 - 15 = 66.6%) who sends TRIPLE ASPECT for the 7:40 at Windsor.

Other trainers with a single runner include, Andrew Balding, Roger Charlton, John Dunlop, TD Barron, David Simcock, Brian Smart, and Jeremy Noseda.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Canford Cliffs to recoup Guineas loss

I reckon CANFORD CLIFFS can win the Irish Guineas today and then go on to be this seasons top 3yo miler. The 2000 Guineas form was confirmed by Dick Turpin in France last week when 2nd in the Freanch Guineas, and Group 1 form is the key. I took 7/2 earlier this week (see another of my posts).

Not a great day for me yesterday, tho there was a huge gamble on Sharp Soveriegn who was 3/1 in the morning and was supported into 7/4.

Friday, 21 May 2010

One hit wonders! Sole runners from trainers in form

Despite highlighting 2 beaten runners yesterday from this selection ploy, I know from past success gained over many years (2002 onwards) that it works. These are the trainers who have achieved more than 40% “win or place” from all their stable runners in the past 14-days who have just a single runner out today.

Sir M Stoute (8 wins 12 placed 41 runners = 48.80%)
RAQEEB in the 9:00pm at Haydock, current odds 4/1

TD Barron (6 – 4 – 21 = 47.60%)
SHARP SOVERIEGN in the 5:00 at Yarmouth, current odds 100/30

J Gosden (4 – 10 – 33 = 42.40%)
VALENZANI in the 2:00 at Yarmouth, current odds

M Jarvis (5 – 5 – 24 = 41.70%)
ON THE CUSP in the 8:00 at Haydock, current odds 6/1

D Simcock (4 – 7 – 23 = 47.80%)
KING OF REASON in the 8:00 at Haydock, current odds 9/2

Of the above I particularly fancy the chance of SHARP SOVERIEGN who seems revitalised now back in the care of Barron. Was on OR68 at the start of his 3yo season this time last year and now races off OR52 after his win last time out. Also, RAQEEB may have been found a weak 10f maiden to break his duck for Sir Michael Stoute; this one is very likely to shorten-up considerably in the betting.

There are two in the same race with ON THE CUSP and KING OF REASON meeting at Haydock. I cannot split the pair as Jarvis has a 32% strike rate here with his 3yo’s, and Simcock has sent 3 x 3yo’s to Haydock and 2 of them have won! So this race could be a case of either laying the fav - the current 6/4 chance Secretive who looks like he’d be best at a trip slightly shorter than a mile – or splitting your stake.

I will give the un-raced VALENZANI a miss.

Exchange betting patterns

Not a great day for my selections yesterday, both were well beaten.

There was considerable support in the betting market for SHABAK HOM from 16/1 (with Betfred, 14’s generally) in the morning to an SP of just 6/1, but it was not justified on the effort shown in the race. The only positive was that there was plenty of opportunity to lay-off your stake prior to the off. EBONY BOOM ran a much more positive race and went-on with 3f to go, in-running odds going <3.00 (was 10.50 at the off). So, again, plenty of opportunity to lay-off your stake and even secure a profit (if that’s your bag).

I follow other blogs and one that I’ve visited frequently recently put me onto a winning opportunity - http://micksgamble.blogspot.com – This blog suggested laying the favourite ORIENTAL CAVALIER in the 2:50 at Haydock yesterday. The odds at the time were 3/1 (about 4.20 on the exchanges) and the prospect of laying £15.60 with the risk of losing £50 was a bit rich for me. I prefer to lay at less than 2.60. So I looked at the running style of Oriental Cavalier and noted it was a consistent front-runner, but (as highlighted by the blog) unlikely to stay the trip. So I set some “lays” up prior to the off to “keep” when in-running; £10 @ 2.60 (liability £16.00); £12 @ 2.40 (£16.80) and £14 @ 2.20 (£16.80). Same risk of about £50, but a potential upside of £36 instead of £15.60. Basically, I anticipated Oriental Cavalier to lead until inside the 2f pole then fade; and that’s what happened. In fact, Oriental Cavalier looked like it would not be pegged back 3f out when it was 3-lengths clear, but when the jockey applied the whip as they passed the 2f pole I knew the lay was safe. Oriental Cavalier actually went below 1.60 in-running – remarkable.

And compare this with the betting pattern in-running of PENANG PRINCESS on Wednesday. Both Penang Princess and Oriental Cavalier started at about 3.30 on the exchanges; both were front-running horses; both led half-a-mile out; both went clear at 3f out; both came under pressure at the 2f pole and lost the lead – yet Oriental Cavalier (never won at the trip in 7 starts) went to <1.60 in-running, whereas Penang Princess with winning form at the trip never went below 2.90. Makes no sense to me.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Trainer-form double?

I am a great follower of trainers in form, especially on the flat. Combined with knowledge of where the trainers are sending their horses it can be a real winner-finder.

Consider this: there are currently 15 flat trainers who have achieved a strike-rate of more than 40% placed from all their runners in the past 14-days. For instance, Henry Cecil has sent out 28 runners in the past 14-days, and had 10 winners and 4 others placed; strike-rate is 50%. Those 15 flat trainers with a 40%+ strike-rate have won 96 flat races between them. Just how many flat races were there in the past 14-days; 250? So, about 40% of all flat races were won by just 15 trainers in the past fortnight.

I combine flat-trainer stable form with runner placement, in particular solitary stable runners. Of those 15 trainers, just 2 have solitary runners out today. Henry Cecil and David Simcock.

Cecil runs EBONY BOOM in the 6:20pm at Sandown, current odds 8/1

Simcock runs SHABAK HOM in the 8:45pm at Salisbury, current odds 16/1

Now, on “known” form these horses are going to get beat, so we have to think outside the box. Both these trainers have good strike-rates at these courses; Cecil has an 18% strike-rate for Sandown, whereas Simcock has a 38% strike-rate with 3yo’s at Salisbury. He has sent 8 x 3yo’s there in past 5 years and 3 have won. At these sort of odds its worth an eachway double. If both are placed (and their respective trainers are not sending a horse-box, head lad and stable girl with just one horse for a day out) then a £10 ew double will return £126, potential profit of £106. Personally, I like the look of SHABAK HOM: it ran well over 9f at Epsom on only its 2nd run as a 2yo, and on its reappearance it was “cut-off” when making a move 2f-out and was not able to recover. So, I’ll definitely be having an each-way single on that one as well.

Generally though, today’s racing is pretty ordinary fare.

Yesterday’s selection PENANG PRINCESS looked good to do the biz until coming under pressure over 2f-out. The way it stopped then suggested that something was amiss. What I thought was unusual was that the “in-running” price did not dip below 2.90 which for a horse that has won over 2-mile before making-all and was leading with less than 3f to go. It was the 2/1 fav on-course (from 5/2) after all (was 3.30 SP on Betfair). I’m not saying there was skulduggery afoot, but I was intending to lay off my stake at 2.40 and given the way it ran the race there was no support for the horse in-running at all.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Princess to maintain Beckett's good form

It’s a poor show when - on a Wednesday, just 17 days before the Derby – we only have a solitary turf meeting on the flat at Goodwood and a mix of turf and dirt at Lingfield with very poor quality racing. At Goodwood, only one race catches my eye. I try and avoid 2yo and 3yo races until Royal Ascot as the form is usually unpredictable until then outside of the Group races. So the race I’m looking at is the Sussex Stayers over 2-mile, it’s a class 4 handicap at 4:55pm.

The majority of this field like to amble along at the rear before making a move in the final half-mile, but coming from behind isn’t the best tactic at Goodwood where the undulations can narrow the field and finding room to manoeuvre in a 3-runner race can be tricky.

As such, I’m going for PENANG PRINCESS who is almost certain to make the pace and - with proven stamina at this 2-mile trip - won’t be stopping. Ralph Beckett has his stable in form with a couple of winners in the past few days and this is his only runner at Goodwood today. He’s not had much luck with his older horses here, but I fancy that could change in this race. There’s not much between Devil To Pay and Curacao but neither of those has the scope for an improved performance today and they appear to have reached their ceiling. As for the rest of the field, if Missoula could recover the form of 2008 it would be hard to beat, but its recent form is poor reflecting the recent form of the others in the race. PENANG PRINCESS opened at 11/4 this morning and is now 5/2 across the board. Its likely that there will be some money for Devil To Pay as trainer Alan King has bang-in-form jockey Richard Hughes in the plate, so we may see 11/4 again – but I expect the SP of PENANG PRICESS to be 2/1, maybe ever 15/8, so I’d take the current odds of 5/2.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Our friends in the South?

Changes in French law which came into affect on 13th May 2010 have meant that online (internet) gambling has been outlawed in that country and its dependencies. So what, some of you may ask? The fact that France have decided to close the internet gambling loophole suggests that it won't be long before other nations make their own legislation to do the same. The US has long been an opponent to internet gambling sites that are based outside their territorial boundaries. And the reason for the opposition? Tax.

Like him or loath him, Gordon Brown’s decision back in 2001 to free betting from tax in this country was a major coup not only for the punters, but for the coffers of the Inland Revenue. It has stimulated the tremendous growth in turnover (and profits) of the betting exchanges and traditional bookmakers who were able (due to their unique position within world sport) to take advantage of the complete lack of gambling opportunities for punters throughout the rest of the world on sport.

I’m surprised that nations haven’t been quicker in closing the tax loopholes afforded by internet gambling. I believe the “leanest” government run tote monopoly is that run by the Hong Kong Jockey Club which strips out 11% of turnover returning 89% of stakes back to the punters. Other nations are not so generous with the pay-back, and I believe some nations retain over 25% of stakes placed. And the tote monopolies exist in the main only on horse-racing and dog-racing – there are few outlets (outside the UK) for gambling on football, tennis, snooker, darts and other international sporting events. Thanks to Gordon Brown, Britain’s tax coffers are boosted by a 15% tax on bookmakers gross profits which must be hugely increased by income from outside the shores of the UK – tax revenue which is being denied to the host nations of those international gamblers.

Surely, it cannot be long before other nations in Europe and Asia follow France’s lead. It would also not surprise me to see some form of direct taxation return to gambling in this country. Gambling is a very easy target for a cash-strapped government; it’s not a necessity but is pure luxury, if you can afford to lose it then you can certainly afford to pay tax on it.

Yes, Gordon Brown did us proud back in 2001, and he was ably supported by Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, who wrote a racing column for the Glasgow Herald. Are there any supporters of the gambling man in the current government?

Friday, 14 May 2010

Canford Cliffs - this seasons top 3yo miler?

There’s been a fair bit of debate in the racing press about the relative merits of the 2000 guineas form. The winner Makfi, in my opinion, won very easily as there was very little challenging in the final furlong. The runner-up Dick Turpin ran his usual solid race from the front and the “catch-me-if-you-can” tactics very nearly worked. The one I went into the race thinking had the most potential as a 3yo ran 3rd – CANFORD CLIFFS. After this race, the RP’s Tom Segal derided the form and suggested that Canford Cliffs should revert to sprinting as he clearly wasn’t a miler. Harsh words for the Guineas 3rd who was the only horse taking ground off the winner in the final furlong. I’ve watched the race several times and Canford Cliffs took nearly 2 furlongs to settle down after the break, and this will have cost him a lot of energy. It seems that the stable thought the best way to get an improved performance from the horse was to settle the horse under restraint, holding him back before unleashing a finishing burst of speed to take the race. It very nearly worked, as Canford Cliffs ran with tonnes in hand just behind the leaders with Richard Hughes keeping the race fav St Nicholas Abbey in his sights away to his right – between them raced the eventual winner Makfi. Unfortunately, I reckon Hughes delayed his challenge for perhaps 100 yards until he realised St Nicholas Abbey was not going to be involved in the finish, but by this time Makfi had made the first move and gained the advantage. He was never going to win then, but he did make up ground on the eventual winner suggesting (to me) that if both had made their move at the same time then Canford Cliffs would have emerged the victor.

I hope the horse goes for the St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot rather than the Golden Jubilee sprint later in the meeting. He has the potential beating of both those that finished in front of him in the Guineas with stamina proven and speed to burn, and there’s nothing else in the race entries that comes close on known form. A win in the St James Palace would set him up for a very lucrative season over the mile.

Place-laying at Newbury this afternoon

There are 6 meetings today and with York suffering due to the firm going and multiple withdrawals, I’ve been looking at the other two afternoon meetings as this evening’s meetings look tricky (especially Aintree).

Until the flat form settles down, I usually only “lay” runners to be unplaced. I read in “Winning Without Thinking” written by Nick Mordin, that gamblers have a good idea of how to rate the chances of a horse winning, but they are not as good estimating the chance of a horse being placed. The usual assessment is a quarter of the win odds; but I reckon if everything falls right for a horse to give it a winning chance (and it takes advantage) then it should win – but if things don’t fall right (and that is usually reflected in the win odds) then it loses, and usually loses badly. In other words, depending on the race format and circumstance, a 4/1 2nd-fav may not be “evens” to be placed but may really be 7/2 to be placed. Make sense? As such, I look to lay to be unplaced horses that are between 2.10 – 2.40 on the exchange “place-only” market in competitive races.

Such a race is the 2:55 at Newbury. Just 7 runners and the exchange market pays on 3 to be placed, but 5 of the 7 runners are at less than 2.20 in this market, with 3 at odds-on (less than 2.00). I’ll be place-laying POLLENATOR as this filly is not guaranteed to stay beyond a mile (certainly not at this level) and she appeared fortunate to win the Group 2 May Hill Stakes at Doncaster last September.

Later in the afternoon at 4:35 ARTIC COSMOS looks another to oppose in the place-only market. Yes, he won comfortably last time out just 24 days ago, but that was over 9f and the horse he beat into 2nd has only won a class 5 since. Given proven stayers in Activate and Essexbridge, Berling and Huff And Puff, ARTIC COSMOS does not look a 2.10-2.20 chance to be placed in the 1st-3 in this.

Too firm at York

The going has become too firm for many at York, despite the course commencing watering. At the time of writing (11:00am) there are 18 declared non-runners.

There were no winners from the 2 selections yesterday, but there were some good things to draw from the races. WORKFORCE looked very uncomfortable and unbalanced for the majority of the race, staying on over the final quarter-mile to be 2nd to the Aidan O’Brien horse Cape Blanco. My initial reaction was that the horse ran green and perhaps didn’t like the track. But, apparently the horse had pulled its bit through its mouth, which explains him hanging, so all-in-all this wasn´t a bad effort. He could prove to be much better over 12f NTO.

In the Hambleton Handicap, the ground was too quick for MULL OF KILLOUGH and it was withdrawn. As I expected, there was a market move for ACROSTIC who having opened at 5/1 started the 7/2fav. For those traders who make their money on the exchanges from market moves prior to the “off”, this was manna from heaven [£1,000 placed @ 6.10 and meant that it was possible to “lay-off” at 4.90 and secure a £245 profit – less commission – before the stalls opened]. ACROSTIC was held just off the pace, as expected, but could not reel in the all-the-way winner Fareer nor hold off the finishing burst of runner-up Rainbow Peak. With both those two entered in Group 1’s at Royal Ascot, this result could suggest that ACROSTIC’s effort was a fair one come mid-June.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

The study of form

There was an interesting article written by Tom Segal of the Racing Post (published in the Weekender) were he compared the difference between the form student style of selection (who he describes as the scientists), and those who use intuition (the artists). He didn’t think that either method was better than the other and how you go about selection is down to the sort of person you are.

I tend to fall between both stools. If I have enough form to go on (and for a lot of races, the amount of form available is scarce) then I will study each horse one-by-one assessing going preferences, trip, and if the horse prefers the course. Rightly or wrongly, I also use as a basis for form assessment the ratings in the RP. I consider them consistent enough to use. This is the way I study form for jumps racing and for 4yo+ handicaps on the flat. I suppose you could say this is the “scientific” method.

For the flat, I tend to follow trainer intuition. I highlight first the trainers in form for the previous 14-days. Trainers have to have had at least 2 winners from a minimum of 10 runners (unless they have a small stable). I combine that stat with having at least 40% of all runners placed (at least). So a trainer with, for example, 3 wins and 7 placed from 18 runners over the past 14-days would strike me as a trainer in form. Then I look at where his horses are running today. If he just has a solitary runner out, then that is another big plus. If that horse is sent to a track where he (or she) has a good strike-rate, and by that I mean better than 20% wins-to-runs, and the trainer must have had at least 2 winners at the track; then that is another big plus. Finally, if the trainer has travelled more than 150 miles to get to the track, then that is another tick in the box. This is my “artistic” method; it requires no form study at all.

Dante Day at York

Not a great run from our selection SKIPPERS LAD yesterday who looked in need of the run. I’ll be on him again next time out.

There was a cracking win at York yesterday in the opening handicap from IMPOSING, and this horse should be entered in the notebooks. To win a competitive handicap after a year off the track is good enough to be high-lighted, but the devastating turn-of-foot it showed to take the race inside the final furlong will make him a very useful horse to follow this summer. Interestingly, his half brother is Henderson’s French Opera, but I can’t see this one going the NH route. The race-time of this race – thanks to the fast gallop set by runner-up Indian Days – was exceptionally quick.

There’s a lot of racing today, and plenty of it this evening, both on the flat and the jumps – so there’s no excuse for not being selective and finding a winner today. The premier meeting is at York and the Dante Stakes at 2:40 could be productive. The front-running Cape Blanco should set a decent pace, but I doubt even Aidan O’Brien is putting money on runners from his stable. With only 2 wins from 23 3yo runners for Suroor, its not hard for me to pass over Chabal. Coordinated Cut looks hard to beat on known form, but his win last month was workmanlike. The one that jumps out at me is WORKFORCE. He overcame an awful draw in his maiden at the back-end of last season at Goodwood, and came from stone-last of 12 with an exceptional run down the outside to leave this field for dead and win by 6-lengths. That’s the sort of turn-of–foot that wins races at all levels, and he’s the one for me, with current odds of 5/2 looking generous.

At 3:20, the Listed Hambleton Handicap over a mile looks a cracking race. I have to oppose the fav Rainbow Peak as I feel he’ll be better over 10f+ being by Hernando and this Good-to-Firm going will be the fastest he’s run on. For me ACROSTIC ticks all the boxes; he handles York and the going, he’ll be ridden just off the pace and has the best of the draw (1) for Fallon to pick his spot in-behind the leaders and a repeat of his Sandown form of last July should be enough. Current odds of 5/1 should be taken before the York crowd lump on their favourite jockey. I would also recommend an ew (or place-only on the exchanges) bet on MULL OF KILLOUGH. He had excuses last time out and this mile trip and going will be perfect for the “Lincoln” 3rd, and current odds of 12/1 are very generous.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Patience is a virtue

As Barney Curley showed us all earlier this week, patience is a virtue when it comes to placing a winner. I've been waiting for this one to run since December when it did not cope with the heavy going at Wincanton on 3rd December, nor the soft on 26th December. Today's Good-to-Firm going will be just right and the break should have done SKIPPERS LAD a deal of good. There's not much to oppose him in this as they are either past their best or have stamina to prove. So long as SKIPPERS LAD is fit to do himself justice then we should have a result. Currently best-priced at 11/2 (Blue Sq and 888) and 5's generally, there's a non-runner so only 8 go to post.

Selection: SKIPPER LAD @ 11/2 - Exeter 3:20

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Caught by the short and Curley!

What a gamble for the man Barney Curley yesterday.

He sent out 4 horses in his ownership – 3 trained by him and another trained by Christy Grant. Three of the 4 won, including JEU DE ROSEAU having its first run in 742 days. Available in the morning at 25/1, it opened on-course at 9/4 before starting at 6/4 with a mountain of money on. The only failure was SOMMERSTURN who started as the 1/3fav. Had that one obliged then the pay-out from the bookies on multiples would have been eye-watering!

The tactic used to success with Jeu De Roseau was a repeat of what Curley did with ZABEEL PALACE last autumn. That one was off 2 years, before racing on 20th Sept in a seller off OR82 which it duly won at 11/2; then, 8 weeks later on 20th November, it won for the 4th time in 5 races off a rating of OR121.

Barney Curley knows how to plan a coup! Does he know how to plan an election?

Bringing you up-to-date

I’ve been asked to provide a summary of my record since posting selections on the blog and via my twitter postings (Wayward_Lad).

Since my first “tweet” on 22nd September 2009, I’ve nominated 42 selections. From those 42 selections, there have 9 winners at odds of 5/2; 11/4; 3/1 (x2); 4/1 (x2); 9/2, 11/2 and 33/1. That 33/1 winner was Bubble Boy on 9th December which I advised as an each-way selection at 33’s, but it won at an SP of 40/1. There have also been 5 selections placed when advised as each-way bets at odds of 9/2 (x2); 5/1; 8/1; and 14/1. At 2pts win or 1pt each-way, the total investment is 84 points and the profit return (thanks to the 33/1 winner) is 47 points (56% return on investment - ROI). Even without the 33/1 winner, the selections are in profit (just).

I also provided a winning take on the General Election last week. I advised a punt on the number of Conservative seats won which resulted on a 35% ROI. The bet demonstrated a disparity in the odds with the bookmakers for a “hung” parliament at odds of 4/6, and a similar outcome being reflected in seat numbers at odds of 5/3 (Conservatives winning 300-324 seats was at odds of 5/2, and 275-299 seats at odds of 5/1; had the Conservatives won less than 275 seats its unlikely that there would have been a “hung” parliament).

So then, 9 winners from 42 selections is a 21% strike-rate, my target is 33%.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Light in the tunnel?

The evening meeting at Windsor looks one to avoid.

At Brighton, if Noseda sends one here then sit up and take notice. He is 10 wins from 15 runners with 3yo’s and he’s running BRANNAGH (OR77) in the 3:10 (currently 11/8). However, I wouldn’t want to take this short a price with Mark Johnston’s Jay’s Treaty likely to improve on his debut run, and the well-bred Yashrid who could end up OR88+ like 4 other produce of his dam.

In the 3:40, I like the look of RESPLENDENT LIGHT who, after beating Warringah as a 3yo, was considered Listed class. He didn’t make that grade and was penalised for it when returning to handicaps. Now running off OR88, he could lead and not be passed and odds of 5/1 generally (11/2 with Skybet) look generous.

At Redcar, CAWDOR won in solid fashion last time out and he looks likely to follow-up in this claimer at 4:20, especially as his only real opponent on paper – Abbondanzer – wants a mile to show his best and may be caught for speed over this 6f trip. The handicap at 4:50 is one to watch and make note of for the future.

So, just the 2 selections: RESPLENDENT LIGHT @ 5/1 and CAWDOR @ 2/1 (try and get 9/4+).

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Joe Jackson reprise?

Went to the dogs last night - or rather my local track at Hove (actually). It's been a couple of years since I ventured down there. In my late-20's I was down there about 2 nights a week on average, and I was reminded what good fun a night at the dogs is.

Being a Saturday night, I was surprised at the amount of "talent" on show, yet the blokes they were with not in the same league, and it reminded me of the Joe Jackson song with the line "pretty women out walking with gorillas down my street."

Anyway's - back to the sport and one thing that I do like about the dogs is that they are consistent and run their hearts out. There were 12 races on the card, I had a bet on 10 and found 3 winners. Was a bit miffed that I missed another 3 (in hindsight) obvious good chances; but overall I enjoyed the night.

The bookies (4 on the rails at the track - 3 local firms and bet365) on the face of it don't give much away with over-rounds of 125% - but I would have done better for all of my winners going to them instead of using the tote (run by Corals).

If you can get to a dog track, then do it.

Worcester Sauce!

A really solid meeting at Worcester tomorrow (Sunday) and there look some good opportunities.

There are not many full brothers to a Guineas winner jumping hurdles, but one is PETROGLYPH in the 1:50. He's a full brother of Irish Guineas winner Indian Haven and started of his racing career with Saeed bin Suroor as a 2yo, but missed his entire 3yo season before being sold for £30k. He took his time to take to hurdling but when he did he rattled-off a hat-trick. He's won over 24f before, so should stay this trip. When he completed his hat-trick he beat Rebecca's Choice giving that horse 14lb. Rebeccca's Choice went on to win NTO and is now running off OR116, which is 29lb higher than when it was beaten fair'n'square by PETROGLYPH. Could this mean that a fit and well PETROGLYPH is possibly OR125+? If so, that makes his current rating of OR108 very lenient. This race looks a weak class 4 handicap (as most Class 4 handicap hurdles over 24f are), so PETROGLYPH holds a decent chance at the weights.

At 3:20, there's a beginners chase. Its choc-full of horses that have found winning novice chases difficult in the past 12 months, but there are two that catch my eye. The first is I'm The Decider who was a very progressive hurdler during the latter half of the 2008-09 season. He's having his debut chase and market confidence in him would be significant seeing as his stable-companion beat the other interesting horse in this race MONT PRESENT. That was Sunnyhillboy who went on run 2nd at the Festival and is now rated OR139 (up 12lb). MONT PRESENT was raised 3lb (to OR120) for that run. Next time out, on his first attempt at 24f, he was tenderly ridden and arrived too late to trouble the eventual winner that day. Up another 2lb (to OR122), he then didn't stay 25f at Ayr; so the drop in trip to 23f for this should suit him and he's dropped back to OR120. The presence runners from Paul Nicholls, Jonjo O'Neill and Charlie Mann should ensure some value in the odds for MONT PRESENT.

I've been waiting for SAFARI ADVENTURES to run at this time of year as he loves the better going (preferring Good-to-Firm) and he sun on his back - but he's never been placed in 7 tries at trips beyond 18f, so I'm not hopeful of his success at this trip of 20f 110yards. However, seeing as some of these seem to find winning very difficult despite their "talent" (Nikos Extra, Kew Jumper, Good Company, Battlecry) SAFARI ADVENTURES may be worth an ew punt at what could be generous odds.