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.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

WEIRD AL provides 1st win for the "Jumps" Alert List

In today’s blog:-
Saturday’s horseracing
Sunday’s horseracing

Saturday’s horseracing
There were no wins for the blog from the 3 selections put up on Friday evening for Saturday's racing. This was a big disappointing as they all ran well enough, especially THE TOTHER ONE in the ‘Charlie Hall” at Wetherby. He battled–on, under hard driving from Ruby Walsh, to grab 2nd place but never really threatened the winner Nacarat. I did not expect such a good run from Nacarat as he usually shows his best form after Xmas and had not shown himself to be an autumn horse (prior to Saturday he was 0 from 4 starts pre-Xmas). I hope THE TOTHER ONE remains on OR155 and if he finds good-to-soft next time then he should recoup. Also at Wetherby, BLAZING BAILEY never got a look in. You have to go against the crowd if you want to make a profit at racing, as following the herd won’t find you value odds. This one tho’ was a bit too left-wing.

At Ascot, EXMOOR RANGER was very nearly placed at odds of 14/1. His early jumping was a bit sketchy and he really hit the 3rd fence hard. He was still in last place with 8 fences to jump (and was about 20-lengths behind the leader), but from there stayed on strong and moved into 4th at the 2nd-last fence but was unable to pass the 3rd horse after the last fence. He improved a lot for his seasonal debut last autumn (ran 7th in the ‘Badger’) and I expect him to run particularly well NTO. I was impressed with the runner-up Take The Breeze as I did not think he stayed 3-mile at this level. He made me some money last season as I thought he was under-rated as a novice chaser and he is well handicapped. I reckon if racing over 20-22f NTO he should do well. The fact that SAFARI JOURNEY won his race so easily later on the card, suggests the going was on the quick side of good at Ascot as he is a real fast-ground specialist.

Sunday’s horseracing
There were no blog selections today, but there were 2 horses running from the Chasers & Hurdlers Alert List in WEIRD AL and GENTLE RANGER, both at Carlisle.
WEIRD AL was running over 20f (which is perhaps a bit on the short-side for him now) and giving weight away all-round but, even so, he was well-treated. Race fav Cape Tribulation did not handle this right-handed track at all and was pulled-up. WEIRD AL was out-paced 3-out but stayed on (having been 4-lengths down at the last fence) to get up on the line for a dead-heat with LITTLE JOSH. In my opinion, Little Josh is better than OR140 but his best form is on soft/heavy going (5 wins from 6 starts) and he undoubtedly found this going too lively for him and he ran too fresh. For me, it was a good seasonal debut for WEIRD AL and he will improve for a step up in trip to 3-mile.
It was a big ask of GENTLE RANGER with 11:12 in the 3m2f handicap chase, and tho’ he led to the 12th fence once he was headed he soon threw-in the towel, and was pulled-up. Lucinda Russell had won this race for the 2 previous years, and she won it again with ETXALAR. Last year’s winner Silver By Nature went on to be 2nd in the Welsh National and is now not far off Gold Cup class. It was Etxalar’s 6th chase today, and he’s sure to have some improvement in him.

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Friday, 29 October 2010

THE TOTHER ONE to prove too strong

In today’s blog:-
Yesterday’s horseracing
Review of today’s horseracing

Yesterday’s horseracing
There was a bit of a market move for PACCO, but it came to nothing; the horse was never in the race. The feature race at Wetherby was won by Neptune Equester and he did it really well, running on strong after the 2nd last and coming home a clear winner. Given that he only ran for the first time in January, that he stays 3-mile plus, and he’s won 3 of his last 4 chases; NEPTUNE EQUESTER is one for the notebook. The blog selection SOULARD, ran in snatches. He looked capable of being involved in the finish 4-out but wasn’t fit enough to stay-on. He’ll go better next time out.

Today’s horseracing
There are jump meetings at Ascot and Wetherby on Saturday.
There is some cracking racing at Wetherby and the 3m1f hurdle looks a good betting medium. It’s out on a limb, but BLAZING BAILEY has the best hurdles form in this field and it is not detrimental that he spent last season novice chasing without achieving comparative success as several in this field have undergone a similar reversal back to hurdles. Odds of 10/1 look eachway value to me as there are 3-places.
In the Charlie Hall, The Tother One ran some great races last season without winning and as such you should ignore his OR155 as he should be OR160+. This trip is right up his street, but may prefer some give. As such, if it turns softer then lump on (double stakes). Everything is in place for Deep Purple to repeat last year’s win, and as he has won 7 of his 10 starts before 31st Dec this is the time to support him. But, the 10lb he gives to THE TOTHER ONE may prove too much and 4/1 looks fair value.
At Ascot, there is a 3-mile listed chase with a good field of 13 runners. Most could have a chance on form and it may not be a race to be heavily involved in. But, Vic Dartnall sends his only runner of the day for this in EXMOOR RANGER, and he very rarely visits Ascot. EXMOOR RANGER never ran a bad race last season and was only just beaten at Sandown by Monkerhostin. If he starts in similar form he will be hard to beat. Early indications are his odds will be generous, Paddy Power go 12/1.
The listed handicap hurdle over 2-mile at 4:15 needs to be won by top-weight GET ME OUT OF HERE if he is to be truly a Champion Hurdle candidate. I sincerely hope the horse does well, but I fear that he will not prove good enough to win a Champion Hurdle and as such, he may be exposed tomorrow.
I’m posting this blog on Friday evening as I’m travelling on Saturday to Cornwall returning my 8yo son to his mother. A long journey (650 miles in total, and 13 hours driving) and not one I look forward to. But we’ve had a good week and hopefully my investment in him will pay dividends in the long run, as he is the one who benefits from my involvement in his life.
So, for Saturday:-

Selections:
Wetherby 2:50 BLAZING BAILEY, ½pt eachway @ 10/1 (Vic Chandler)
Wetherby 3:25 THE TOTHER ONE, 1pt win @ 4/1 (Ladbrokes) – double stake if turning soft
Ascot 3:40 EXMOOR RANGER, ½pt eachway @ 12/1 (Paddy Power)
Total = 3pts staked

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Thanks from Wayward Lad

SOULARD to take the spoils

In today’s blog:-
Yesterday’s horseracing
Review of today’s horseracing

Yesterday’s horseracing
There was no blog yesterday as I took a day-out with my 8yo son up to London. We had a great time at the Science Museum and then had perhaps the best burger in the capital at “Sticky Fingers”, the restaurant owned by the ex-Rolling Stones guitarist Bill Wyman. You can get a 2-for-1 deal off the internet.
Not much of interest at Fontwell yesterday, but Neil Mulholland had another winner for his racing club owners in MTPOCKETS who was having only his 3rd start under rules. Mulholland is very much a trainer to follow and this is only his 3rd season as a trainer. I’ve just looked at his website and he’s the neighbour of the David Pipe yard at Tiverton in Devon, having use of the gallops at Pond House.
At Stratford, OWEN GLENDOWER made it 2 wins from 2 starts over hurdles and long-term he must be Festival bound and the Supreme Novices hurdle is probably the target. Much was expected of the chase debut of TELL MASSINI and he did not disappoint, winning comfortably. If you read my Festival review, my opinion is the horse was off the track too long (97-days) before running in the Albert Bartlett.

Today’s horseracing
There are a couple of meetings at Uttoxeter and Wetherby today over the jumps.
The heavy going at Uttoxeter will sort them all out and take some getting. Nothing much takes my eye, tho’ the 20f handicap chase at 4:55 has and open air about it. PACCO is @ 10/1 (with Stan James)for this, and he last won when running on heavy over 20f in Feb-09 off OR107. Rated OR113 after that, he ran well again NTO (also on heavy). His seasonal debut last December (on heavy) was his best run of the season, and he then lost the plot. Today, on his seasonal debut, may be the best time to catch him especially over today’s trip and on his favoured heavy going.
At Wetherby, the feature is the class 1 (Listed) chase over 20f+. This race looks a cracker! According To Pete was fancied for last year’s Paddy Power (SP 9/1) off OR142, so off OR134 today, he will go close, especially as he’s won 6 from 10 starts on Oct & Nov. Lease Lend did not stop improving last season, he could be another who will be well-in today. The trip will likely stretch My Moment, whereas Neptune Equester is likely to prefer 3-mile-plus. Qulinton is probably over-rated on OR128. Soulard also has a lot in his favour, and will enjoy the going and trip. I am not taken by Frankie Figg as he does not seem to last out over “standard” tracks showing his best from over the National fences at Aintree. For me, SOULARD at 12/1 (with Stan James) is the value, especially as the RP have him at 9/2 in their betting forecast.

Selection:
Wetherby 3:20 SOULARD, ½pt eachway @ 12/1 (Stan James)

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Thanks from Wayward Lad

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Rockiteer comes close

In today’s blog:-
Yesterday’s horseracing
Review of today’s horseracing

Yesterday’s horseracing
Just the one race was looked at yesterday and we very nearly had a tremendous winner in ROCKITEER that was put up as a worthy eachway wager at the odds of 11/1. He jumped the last fence in front, having been travelling very well thru’out the race, but was caught on the run-in by the strong finish of Emma Lavelle’s Qianshan Leader. In my opinion, all the 1st-3 home in this race can go on from this as the race looked a fair one for the grade.

Review of today’s horseracing
There is a good jump meeting at Haydock, and another decent jump meeting at Punchestown in Ireland. In the 20f chase at 2:50, the form of MASTER SOMERVILLE when 2nd to Edgbriar is now looking very good as that horse has been re-rated to OR145 following his win at Cheltenham the other day. That suggests that MASTER SOMERVILLE could be a good deal better than OR115 and he also goes best when fresh. There are heavy showers forecast for today and any softening of the ground will benefit him. He will likely be up with the pace thru’out. He’s now 8/1 (PaddyPower & Stan James) and that is the value.
The class 3 hurdle at 3:25 looks a competitive race for the money. The 7yo, SOFTSPOKENGUY has run well in 2 races at Haydock, despite being hampered both times. He’ll get the trip, runs prominent so won’t be far away from the leaders, and comes here race-fit. Those ahead of him in the betting; that is Mostly Bob, Barwell Bridge and Pipe Banner; all look like having questions to ask or improvement to find. So, at odds of 9/1 (Ladbrokes) he looks eachway value.
The class 3 chase at 4:00 is similarly filled with horses looking to have something to prove. I am drawn to GARLETON (who, like SOFTSPOKENGUY, is trained by M A Barnes). He has dropped from OR114 to his last winning mark of OR106, and he won his opening 2 races last season. He returned with a decent effort 19-days ago, so will be fit for that. The problem is his jockey, who is a 7lb claimer with only 3 chase wins. As such, for me current odds of 8/1 do not look value, and so this is a no bet race.

At Punchestown, in the 3:20 novice chase NOBLE PRINCE makes his chase debut. I was on the brink of including this horse in my Chasers & Hurdlers alert list, as he is such a consistently game performer. He could be the sort that leaves his hurdle form way behind when going chasing, and if he does he will go right to the top! Today’s odds leave no room for error tho’, so this is a race to watch and learn from.

Selections:
Haydock 2:50 MASTER SOMERVILLE, 1pt eachway @ 8/1
(best odds guaranteed with Stan James)
Haydock 2:50 MASTER SOMERVILLE @ 8/1 and
Haydock3:25 SOFTSPOKENGUY @ 9/1 (Ladbrokes, best odds guaranteed),
½pt eachway double

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Thanks from Wayward Lad

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Race organisation needs a rocket

Review of today’s horseracing
There was no jump racing yesterday.
Today there is just the one jump meeting at Taunton.
I am going to give the first two hurdles a wide berth. The third race is a 2-mile h’cap chase and, as with most chase handicaps at this time of the season, I start my form analysis with the youngest horse as they have the most potential to be ahead of the handicapper. The 4yo WOODLARK ISLAND can jump a fence, and was only beaten by the 20f trip LTO. He will take all the beating today back to 2-mile. Agente Romano and Qianshan Leader, aren’t up to this, and January is held by the fav. Rockiteer has the potential to win off his mark. King Brex needs to drop a few pounds. Chrysander would be red-hot fav if retaining the ability of 2 seasons back, but his jockey is yet to win a race. Red Jester is one paced, as is Mibleu. Woodlark Island should win this but at 9/4 is too short for me in what could be a tricky handicap. For me, ROCKITEER @ 11/1 (with Bet365) looks worthy of an eachway wager, but essentially that is only a “fun” bet.

It is very disappointing racing for the time of year, and I’m sure that there are a few tracks around the country that would want to put on a jump meeting today. Let’s hope the racing picks up soon.

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Thanks from Wayward Lad

Monday, 25 October 2010

MONET'S GARDEN dishes it out!

In today’s blog:-
Review of the weekend’s horseracing

Review of the weekend’s horseracing

There is no jump racing today, just a couple of very ordinary flat race meetings – so no selections today as this blog is concentrating on jump racing now until we know the winner of the next Grand National.

On Saturday, MONET’S GARDEN proved how important (in some instances) stats come to the fore. The horse loves Aintree (now 5 wins from 9 starts there), and the 20f trip (now 9 wins from 12 starts when racing over 20f) and, including winning on his seasonal debut in 2003, he has won on his seasonal debut in 7 out of 8 seasons in his long and successful career – including when beating Kauto Star! If you find a horse with winning course form (or has run particularly well at the course) and, better still, it’s running in the same race the following season, then take note!

There was another impressive display from a 4yo hurdler when CUE CARD won his hurdle debut at Aintree. A very impressive winner of the Champion “bumper” at the Cheltenham Festival last March, his hurdling debut was eagerly awaited. He won very easily here, but the performance is difficult to rate as those behind him have little form in the book to go on. On the face of it, I would find it hard to rate the run better than OR130 – but the ease with which he won suggests he is capable of running OR140+ at least.

It’s half-term week and I’m looking after my 8yo son (collected him from Cornwall on Saturday). As such, there will be some demands on my time. Even so, the form study goes on and be sure to visit the blog on a daily basis.

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Thanks from Wayward Lad

Friday, 22 October 2010

Little to get enthused about

In today’s blog:-
Review of the yesterday’s horseracing
Today’s Horseracing

Review of yesterday’s horseracing

Nothing very exciting yesterday.
Trainer J Howard Johnson hit the mark at Carlisle with 2 winners, and I did advise that a close look be taken with all his runners. Unfortunately, HOLD FAST didn't win for Mr Johnson but he did run as expected, leading to 4-out when a couple of mistakes took their toll. With the experience under his belt, he is likely to hold his own as a chaser. The advice to "back-to-lay" came good, and there was plenty of opportunity to lay-off for a small profit in-running.

Today’s Horseracing
Just the one jump meeting at Fakenham and there is nothing running there that takes my eye. I did note earlier this week that WINSLEY HILL was entered for the class 3 3-mile chase, but he's not been declared. I like EMPEROR CONCERTO of the 5 runners left in the race, but it is not a good idea to have wagers in small-field races as they can become a bit tactical. However, EMPEROR CONCERTO would have won his race last Feb at Doncaster very easily but for a last-fence blunder and looks to have the most potential of these few horses.

So, just a short blog today.

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Thanks from Wayward Lad

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Arise, SIR IAN - a winner @ 7/2 (advised)

In today’s blog:-
Review of the yesterday’s horseracing
Today’s Horseracing

Review of yesterday’s horseracing
We hit the target yesterday when SIR IAN (one of two selections on the blog) won at Worcester @ 9/4 (was advised @ 7/2 on here). The horse made all and won fairly easily, making it 4 wins from 5 runs on “good” going – his only failure being in his debut chase. He’s likely to be put away till the Spring, thus avoiding racing on unsuitable soft going.
Unfortunately, the other selection BALLYDUB again made a lot of mistakes and could only finish 3rd of the 4 finishers, despite disputing the lead to 3-out. He does have ability, but he needs to learn how to jump a fence at speed.
All-in-all, a good day with 5pts profit.

Today’s Horseracing
There are two jump meetings at Carlisle and Ludlow.
Trainer, J Howard Johnson does particularly well at Carlisle and I would give all his runners here today a close look. One of his I noted from last season was HOLD FAST who runs in his debut chase at 3:25. It is never a good thing to have a wager in novice chase’s, unless you are particularly confident about your selection – so I am not advising this as a wager. But his last run has worked out very well on form, and he looks well handicapped on his hurdles rating. The horse in 2nd that day (Gilbarry) won NTO and is now rated OR118, and in 3rd was Coastley, who won his next two arces and is now rated OR129. HOLD FAST gave Coastley 14lb that day, so he could be OR140+ which makes him potentially very useful. He also stays 20f, so today’s 2-mile trip on this stiff course should hold not fears. He makes all, so a “back-to-lay” wager could be the way.
Having looked thru’ the Ludlow card there is nothing that catches my eye – altho’ David Pipe has his only runner of the day here Armenian Boy in the selling hurdle at 3:15.

So, just a short blog today as lots to get on with at this end. One for the weekend: trainer Tom George is not sure whether his horse TARTAK will be up for a good run in the “Old Roan” chase at Aintree, but it won’t be for lack of fitness as he’s aimed the horse at this race.

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Thanks from Wayward Lad

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

CLERKS CHOICE for Champion Hurdle @ 33's

In today’s blog:-
Review of the yesterday’s horseracing
Today’s Horseracing
And another thing

Review of yesterday’s horseracing
At Exeter, CELESTIAL HALO had his debut race as a chaser – and fell.
It is always a concern when hurdlers go chasing – some make it and some don’t. Some of those in recent years who were top-class hurdlers who did not make the grade as chasers include Straw Bear and Afsoun, but I’m sure many more can be added to the list. At odds of 2/7 yesterday, CELESTIAL HALO was a certain winner so long as he was able to jump the fences. It cuts against the grain for me to lay a horse to lose in the hope that it falls, so I “abstained” from the race yesterday.
Paul Nicholls reported that the horse returned to the stables ok on twitter (@PFNicholls) and there was also talk that the horse would now return to hurdling (comments of back to the drawing board). If you refer to yesterday’s blog, Nicholls has always thought the horse would be best over a longer trip than 2-mile, and he looked like he was on the way to winning the 2m4f Aintree Hurdle (G1) last April till falling at the 2nd-last when in a clear lead. I reckon he may miss the Cheltenham Festival altogether next March, and be aimed solely for the Aintree Hurdle.

Today’s Horseracing
There are two jump meetings at Fontwell and Worcester.
I’ve not had much time this morning to look through the racing, but Fontwell provides nothing to generate my interest at all. At Worcester, BALLYDUB was a novice with potential last season, and I expect him to be well-schooled for this as at 100/30 (Skybet, and 11/4 elswhere) for the novice chase at 3:15, he looks value as both those ahead of him in the market are having their chase debut – and as we saw yesterday, it’s a lot different on the course from jumping fences on the gallops.
I will be looking for a good run from SIR IAN in the 4:55. He is 3 wins from 4 runs on “good” going, his only failure being in his debut chase. He’s also best at this 20f trip and he comes here having run a career-best LTO just 26-days ago. At 7/2 with Sportingodds (3/1 elsewhere) he is the value.

And another thing
There was a fair amount of discussion about the re-rating of CLERKS CHOICE following his runaway win at Cheltenham on Saturday. The Official Handicapper has taken that form “as read” and rated CLERKS CHOICE at OR162 – that is an increase of 31lb on his previous rating. To put the rating into context, at the same stage (ie. after their opening run of 4-5yo season):-
in 2007, Punjabi (Champion Hurdle winner in 2009) was rated OR150;
in 2008, Binocular(Champion Hurdle winner in 2010) was rated OR152;
in 2007, Katchit (Champion Hurdler in 2008) was rated OR162;
in 2006, Detroit City (was 6/4 fav for 2007 Champion Hurdle) was rated OR165.
From the above, you can see that CLERKS CHOICE is a “better” hurdler than the last 3 Champion Hurdlers as this stage of his career, based on Official Ratings. The time of the race on Saturday was also very good being well under the standard time, and the best speed rating on the day by a long way. I was also enamoured by the ease at which the horse ran the race as he travelled well off a very strong pace and basically won as he liked with the horses in 2nd and 3rd being solid yardsticks and coming from top stables, therefore surely being fit enough to do themselves justice.
In my opinion, current odds of 33/1 for the Champion Hurdle look generous, especially given the lack of depth in the Champion Hurdle market (most have shown themselves incapable of winning, bar reigning champion Binocular, and Peddlers Cross). Also, 5yo's have taken 50% of the places in the last 4 Champion Hurdles, from a representation of probably less than 20% of the runners.

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Thanks from Wayward Lad

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

WOOTTON BASSETT for Champion 2yo

In today’s blog:-
Review of the yesterday’s horseracing
Today’s Horseracing
And another thing

Review of yesterday’s horseracing
The race I focused on yesterday at Plumpton, the 3m 1½f h’cap hurdle (class 3) turned into a race that may throw more than a few future winners. As expected, it was run at a good pace with the game mare Winsley Hill setting an un-relenting gallop (the race was the only one on the card run quicker than standard time), but she found nothing after the final flight to hold off the eventual winner FIRM ORDER. This 5yo was running beyond 2m5f for the 1st time and stayed this trip very well suggesting he should be one to follow. WINSLEY HILL must surely be primed for a return to chasing now and her rating in that sphere of OR127 looks favourable as she won off OR123 this time last year, and she’s clearly improved since then. I’m not sure where the blog selection CLIFTON DEBUT goes now, probably a drop in trip to 3-mile or a bit less.

Today’s Horseracing

Again, just the one jump meeting at Exeter, and the highlight is the chasing debut of CELESTIAL HALO. This horse is a favourite of mine who did me proud in the Champion Hurdle of 2009, but cost me dearly last March. Paul Nicholls usually sends a decent novice for this (if he has one) and there is little to be gained having a wager on today as current odds are 2/7. Long-term, if he takes to fences, CELESTIAL HALO could be a very exciting recruit to chasing. Current odds of 12/1 for the Arkle are a bit short for me, as Nicholls has always thought the horse would be best over a longer trip than 2-mile, and he looked like he was on the way to winning the 2m4f Aintree Hurdle (G1) last April till falling at the 2nd-last when in a clear lead.

And another thing
There were a few tweets (you can find me on twitter, under Wayward_Lad) yesterday about Frankel, Dream Ahead, and this year’s possible Champion 2yo.
FRANKEL is almost certainly capable of winning the Derby next season, even tho’ Maestro Henry Cecil is only talking about the 2000 Guineas and St James Palace Stakes as targets for 2011. It seems that Cecil is focusing on the fact that altho’ FRANKEL’s dam is a half-sister to Powerscourt (who won G1’s at 12f and was a better older horse than 2yo) the dam KIND is by Danehill, whereas Powerscourt was sired by Sadlers Wells. As such, KIND was a 6-furlong horse. That speed has clearly been passed-on to FRANKEL, and we all wonder how much stamina has been passed-on by his sire – Derby-winner (English and Irish) and King George winner, GALILEO.
It is a quirk of handicapping that FRANKEL is currently rated OR124, whereas DREAM AHEAD is rated OR126 based on his emphatic win in the Middle Park Stakes. At the time, I thought DREAM AHEAD’s performance only rated an OR118 ranking as the reason he won so easily that day was that he coped with the soft going so much better than the others in the race. The BHA is frantically back-peddling with this one!
And so to the year’s Champion 2yo. It cannot honestly be Dream Ahead, despite being the highest rated. It could be Frankel, but if you are going to give the title to a horse that is not highest rated then what about WOOTTON BASSETT? Unbeaten in 5 starts, culminating in the G1 Grand Criterium at Longchamp in a time that compared favourably with Goldikova’s G1 winning time in the following race. There are no question-marks over his performance surely?

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

Monday, 18 October 2010

Kim Bailey makes rare visit to Plumpton

In today’s blog:-
Review of the weekend’s horseracing
Today’s Horseracing

Review of weekend’s horseracing

Not a bad result again on Saturday!
The headline selection TWICE OVER romped home in the Champion Stakes at 7/2 (advised on this blog @ 9/2 as the “value punt”). I was also on the mark with the day’s “Bismark” lay-wager PICTURE THIS in the novice chase as Cheltenham. I thought he was a “lay” at 7/4, but the horse actually started at the unbelievable odds of 6/5 – madness in the ring from the uninitiated.
My “nap” as such, POCKET ACES gave a poor display of jumping and must’ve clouted half-a-dozen fences. Even so, he kept up with the field for most of the race and I can only assume the horse just wasn’t fit enough to do himself justice.
In the Dewhurst, FRANKEL showed himself to be the worthy winter favourite for the 2000 Guineas, tho’ the below-par runs of both SAAMIDD and DREAM AHEAD put a slight question-mark on the form. It has to be said that the race-time was very fast.
There was an impressive winner at Cheltenham in CLERK’S CHOICE in the 2-mile class 2 hurdle, and he could be one to follow this season.

Today’s Horseracing

Just the one jump meeting at my local track at Plumpton today, and it is very ordinary fare.
Only one race takes my eye as perhaps providing an opportunity and that’s the 25f & 110yds handicap hurdle. This trip will really stretch the stamina of most of these, and there are only a few that will “likely” stay the trip, and that’s Winsley Hill, Clifton Debut and Makena as the others all have stamina doubts. However, I think this extended 3-mile trip will even find out Winsley Hill, who does not find much beyond 24-furlongs. It is very likely that there will be a good pace and any chinks in the stamina will be exposed here, so the most likely winner is probably CLIFTON DEBUT who has form over 3-mile on similar going in Ireland and makes his debut for Kim Bailey, who is a rare visitor to Plumpton. Sean Quinlan is in the saddle and in the last 6-months, Quinlan has ridden 12 winners from 35 rides or Bailey. I’d want a bit more than the current odds of 9/2 tho’, and if you can get better than 5/1 then I’d take it.

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Saturday, 16 October 2010

TWICE OVER to make it twice over!

In today’s blog:-
Review of yesterday’s horseracing
Today’s Horseracing

Review of yesterday’s horseracing
Not a bad result yesterday!
Probably due to the going being quicker than expected, the odds on OUZBECK lengthened to 12/1 (which is not usually a problem if you took the earlier offer of 9/1 as most bookies now go “best odds guaranteed”). He was a little outpaced in mid-race, but he stayed on stoutly passing beaten horses to be 3rd. And overall, I read the race well. There were few proven at the 3-mile trip in the race and the only two that were without trip doubts came 2nd and 3rd, with LACDOUDAL (“he’s almost a place banker”) coming home 2nd @ 8/1. I admit I didn’t call the winner in Midnight Chase, but I gave him a good plug in the narrative.
The winner MIDNIGHT CHASE is an improving horse and should be followed over 3-mile NTO. Similarly, OUZBECK made tremendous strides in the last half-mile under a hand’n’heels ride considering he was probably 20-lengths adrift at one point. Over a trip in excess of 3-mile he’ll be thereabouts. And don’t forget DOUBLE DIZZY. This horse always needs his opening race of the season and this was a promising run till he ran out of steam.
A final word for jockey Dougie Costello: his talent is being discovered!
Trainers JJ Quinn, Neil Mulholland and TD Easterby give him most winners, but Jonjo O’Neill also used him last season.
Final word for horse alert runner MONT PRESENT, he did not stay this 3-mile trip (as expected) but this run will prep-him for his next run.

Today’s Horseracing

The second day of the October jump meeting at Cheltenham, together with another jump meeting at Kelso and the Champion Day meeting at Newmarket.
In the G1 Champions Stakes, I was on TWICE OVER last year and the horse loves this race as it fits it to a “T”. The horse has shown he’s improved this season (again) and at 9/2, he is the value punt in this as he has the going in his favour – unlike some of the others. In the Dewhurst, there have been stories galore going around about the brilliance of Frankel, and if he wins it he’ll be hailed as the champion elect. But, he steps down from a mile to 7f for this and I am always wary of horses dropping in trip, especially 2yo’s when they’ve done nothing to show a drop in trip will benefit them. For me it’s a watching race, but do not ignore the Saeed bin Suroor horse SAAMIDD.
There are no horses from the Alert List running today. In the 2:40 at Cheltenham, Free World (Ire) is an 8yo and not the Free World (Fr) on the alert list who is a 6yo with Paul Nicholls. That race, a h’cap chase (class 2) over 20f & 100yds is a cracker – very competitive. You’ll have to have some faith in me here, but I reckon that POCKET ACES is a handicap snip off OR133. I noted him running well last autumn, and then he was thrown in the deep end against Long Run at Kempton on Boxing Day and he hated the soft ground on his last run. He’s 25/1 and with 18 runners paying 4-places, he’s worth a small wager in a tight field.
In the 3:50, the novice chase, I was on Picture This for his last run but he’s up against it here on his chase debut and he will be severely tested. I’m not sure which will win, but as the 7/4 fav, PICTURE THIS is a “lay” and is the day’s Bismark!
At Kelso, the good-to-firm going will be a new experience for many of these today, and the horses that cope best will be the ones that win the races. Given that most racing here will be trying ground this quick for the first time, Kelso is a meeting to avoid unless you know your selection will cope with the ground.

Selection:
Cheltenham 2:40 POCKET ACES, ½pt eachway @ 25/1 (¼ odds available generally)

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Friday, 15 October 2010

Cheltenham returns!

In today’s blog:-
Review of yesterday’s horseracing
Today’s Horseracing

Review of yesterday’s horseracing

The best of the jump racing took place at Punchestown in Ireland yesterday, and LOOSEN MY LOAD won a facile victory that proved nothing much more than he can jump a fence and he’s better than average. He is going to have to show a lot more to be a genuine “Arkle” contender.
As for SIZING EUROPE, well – he was weak in the betting before the race suggesting he was not as forward in his work as necessary to win this. The race winner, China Rock, had no fitness doubts (having won a race 12-days earlier) nor stamina doubts having run well over 3-mile before. Personally, I would like to see this exercise brought to a quick conclusion and SIZING EUROPE trained for the 2-mile Champion Chase as my opinion is that - this season - the division is wide open.

Today’s Horseracing
The first day of the October jump meeting at Cheltenham is eagerly anticipated.
It may be that today’s action is a bit below what we might want to experience, but it’ll be decent racing all the same. There is also a good flat meeting at Newmarket, and tho’ I am now concentrating on the jump racing, I do think that Dettori on VESUVE could be hard to beat in the 3:30, as that man does like to be on a horse that can dominate the pace of a race.
At Cheltenham, there is a runner from my horse alert list – MONT PRESENT in the 3-mile chase at 5:05. If you read my write-up on the horse (see adjacent pages) then you will know that I don’t think the horse stays 3-mile and is best at upto 21f. So, I’m not recommending a wager but he could be an eachway possibility. The winner of this amateur riders race is normally a market leader and I reckon the winner will come from one of the three recent LTO winners; KING ROONAH, ROYAL KICKS or MAD JACK DUNCAN.
For me, the highlight of the meeting is the 3-mile class 2 handicap chase at 3:55. I reckon the fav, Meanus Dandy, only just gets 3-mile. Qulinton is also unproven at this trip. If we knew Calgary Bay was in the mood to race, then he’d be the selection – but we don’t. Midnight Chase shapes as tho’ he’ll stay 3-mile (he only beat 3 others LTO at Hexham, so I’d overlook that), and his full brothers stayed 3-mile, so he’s on the short-list. If Double Dizzy had already had a run this season then he’d be top of my list, as his run here on 1st Jan was a cracker. Diablo is another doubtful stayer and his OR130 rating looks 14lb too high to me. Lead On is another uproven at the trip, as is Victor Daly. Lacdoudal last won in April 2006, tho’ he does stay this trip (and more) and he will not fall – he’s almost a place banker. That leaves just OUZBECK who I believe is a class above these and even with top-weight of 11:12 could get the better of them. Emma Lavelle has revitalised the horse as a chaser, who would probably have been 3rd to Imperial Commander in the Paddy Power but for falling at the last fence when running off OR153 (he’s on OR149 today).

Selection:
Cheltenham 3:55 OUZBECK, ½pt eachway @ 9/1 (5th odds available generally)

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Thursday, 14 October 2010

Sizing Europe returns to the track

In today’s blog:-
Review of yesterday’s horseracing
Today’s Horseracing

Review of yesterday’s horseracing
My initial thoughts were not a great day for the blog yesterday – but perhaps I’m being a bit hard on myself. The first selection to run, ARCHIE’S WISH looked like it had the race won coming to the 2nd last (touched 1.20 in-running on Betfair), but he just faltered there and the eventual winner – Ferdy Murphy’s Pistol Basc – took it up and stayed on strong. No excuse really, the better horse on the day won.
The other selection, FIT TO DRIVE, never got into the race at all, and took a walk in the market before racing (went to 14.0 before the off) suggesting all was not well with the horse. Given the form she was in last autumn perhaps connections have not got the horse fit. On reflection, I should have given more thought to the recent form of her trainer Brendan Powell as he’s only had 2 winners from his last 40 runners over the jumps and on the flat since 1st September.
The other horse mentioned on the blog was KILKENNY ALL STAR who ran out a good winner at the odds of 2/1 (having touched 9/4).
If I had wagered a level stake “win” bet on each of the 3 named horses then I’ve have finished the day even, but instead I incurred a 2pt loss. I think that perhaps I am trying too hard to find a winner at good odds and, in the process, missing out some solid chances like KILKENNY ALL STAR.

Today’s Horseracing
There is just the one jump meeting today at Wincanton, tho’ there is also a decent meeting in Ireland at Punchestown. There is little to get excited about at Wincanton so, on the face of it, I’m giving the meeting a miss.

At Punchestown, the Arkle winner SIZING EUROPE reappears over 2m 7f, and he should win this easily. He’s won over 2m4f before (beating Tinakelly Lad, who was mentioned on this blog when 3rd in the Munster National last week) and this trip should not trouble him at all.
All eyes will be on LOOSEN MY LOAD in the novice chase, and he should win this. Even so, we need to see a decent display if he is to be a serious contender for next year’s Arkle. Last year, Sizing Europe recorded an RPR of 163 in winning this race, and to record a similar rating LOOSEN MY LOAD will have to win in an emphatic manner from what looks to be very ordinary opposition.

No selections today.

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Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Take the odds on Archie's Wish

In today’s blog:-
Review of yesterday’s horseracing
Today’s Horseracing

Review of yesterday’s horseracing
No firm selection yesterday, but the narrative pointed you in the direction of a winning wagers on SWINCOMBE ROCK who won in a canter @ 4/11; and also a “lay” wager on the fav for the 3m3f h’cap hurdle THAI VANGO who, as expected, did not stay the trip and was a well beaten 100/30 favourite. I also suggested INGHWUNG was an eachway wager and she duly came 2nd, but I said that you should look for odds of 11/2 or more, and her SP was only 4/1.

Today’s Horseracing
There are jump meetings today at Uttoxeter and Wetherby.
There is not much to write home about at Huntingdon. The only horse that takes my eye is in the 2-mile handicap at 4:55 and that is the fav KILKENNY ALL STAR. But he is likely to be chased along for the lead in the early stages by Colliers Court and he may not enjoy that. As such, his current odds of just 7/4 don’t look much value even tho’ he is clearly the best of these on the weights and if he is fit enough to do himself justice. I would be looking for 5/2 at least, but you are unlikely to get those odds before the off.

At Wetherby, the racing is better.
Pistol Basc was 2nd in the 2m6f chase last year, and his run LTO after a summer break did not suggest there should be confidence today to go one better. There has been a market move for Tim Vaughan’s horse Sean Og, but it must be based on stable confidence as for the life of me, he’s shown nothing on the track. I don’t go along with rumour, I am a formbook man thru’ & thru’. So my idea of the winner (even before I looked at the betting) was the promising 6yo ARCHIE’S WISH. His trainer, Micky Hammond, has a good record here with chasers and so long as he has a clear round he looks capable of a good show. He was 3/1 in the RP betting-forecast this morning, and so the gamble on Sean Og has pushed out his odds to 13/2 which should be taken.
LATE NEWS: SEAN OG is a non-runner!

The Bobby Renton Class 3 chase over an extended 20f is a good race on the calendar at this stage of the season. Alan King’s NIKOS EXTRA let me down a lot last season despite having a number of winning opportunities and so remains on a decent mark, but he is as one-paced as they come! So, I reckon he should be opposed and FIT TO DRIVE won her opening couple of races last autumn and this trip is right up her street as is the going. She was highly tried last winter, and lost nothing in defeat but has now slipped back to her last winning mark of OR125. Currently at 11/2, that’s fair but I’d prefer a bit more and if you can get 6/1 or more than take a punt. War Party in the same race looked like winning his debut chase LTO till running out of puff – he’s on a light weight with his claimer taking 7lb off and he is the sort who could spring a surprise.

Selections:
Wetherby 2:50 ARCHIE’S WISH, 1pt win @ 11/2
Wetherby 3:55 FIT TO DRIVE, ½pt each-way @ 6/1 (if you can get it, currently 11/2)

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Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Review of Paul Nicholls stable

In today’s blog:-
Review of the Paul Nicholls Stable-tour in the Weekender of 6th October 2010
Today’s Horseracing

There was no blog selection yesterday as there was no jump racing.

Review of the Paul Nicholls Stable-tour in the Weekender of 6th October 2010

In last weeks “Weekender”, there was a stable-tour of the Paul Nicholls yard. I will try and pull a few nuggets of information from that tour which may point us in the direction of a few winners.
The first winner was quickly pointed out, and that was ESCORT’MEN, who won at Chepstow on Saturday. Two bits of info on this one; Nick Mordin (who I greatly respect) rates this top juvenile hurdler (who will be a 5yo next March) a potential Champion Hurdler. I would not go that far, but he is clearly classy, and held in great respect by his trainer who suggests in his appraisal of the horse that he is likely to go chasing before the end of the season. A horse of this quality, going novice chasing, means only one thing – the “Arkle" for which he's 33/1.
Former Champion Hurdle hope, the 6yo CELESTIAL HALO is definitely going novice chasing (he’ll probably run at Exeter next week), but Nicholls reckons that he’ll need more than 2-mile to show his best. That suggests he may end up as the stable RSA entry, and not be in the Arkle where he is the ante-post 2nd-fav at just 12/1; you have been warned!
Another novice chaser who did not run well on his debut is the 6yo PEPE SIMO. He met the 1st-fence all wrong at Fontwell and thereafter never settled on this figure of “8” course where Nicholls has a tremendous strike-rate in non-handicap chases (36 winners from 82 runners). It says a lot that Nicholls still considers him to be a nice prospect (in a yard choc-full of “nice” prospects) and the faith remains intact. He deserves another chance.
Another horse considered a nice prospect is the 4yo SANG BLEU. However, Nicholls thinks this horse still needs time to grow into his frame and I would be surprised if the horse went novice chasing this season if Nicholls thinks he may need another year - yet he's just 16/1 for the Arkle!
It may be better to consider another 4yo described as a “real nice prospect” SIRE COLLONGES. As yet unraced in the UK, he will likely go hurdling with a decision on going novice chasing taken in the Spring. It is unusual for a horse to win the “Arkle” on the back of a light (and late) novice chase campaign, but not impossible.
One horse I thought was outclassed as a novice chaser was THE NIGHTINGALE, but Nicholls has him pencilled-in for a campaign of raids of Ireland’s chases. If he’s a “high-class chaser in the making” then that puts the likes of Weird Al and Burton Port right in the Gold Cup frame!
Another of his senior ranks chasers is WHAT A FRIEND. Unfortunately, he’s had a breathing operation (something that’s also happened to MASTER MINDED). He’s considered ‘delicate’ and won’t take much racing, he’s also behind with his work which, to me, suggests he may be best in the Spring. Even so, in order for him to be a genuine Gold Cup contender, Nicholls needs the breathing operation to bring about some improvement, probably about 10lb, and it seems a bit of a gamble for connections to take with a horse that won’t take much racing whatever the outcome.
As such, it seems that the stables long-term Festival hopes again revolve around the “3-musketeers” of KAUTO STAR, DENMAN and BIG BUCKS. Do the stable have a D’Artagnan?
Personally, I was a bit disappointed that there was no word about FREE WORLD who is on my alert list of Chaser & Hurdlers to follow this season. I am hoping this was just an oversight given the number of quality horses in the stable and that it is not something more ominous, such as an injury.

Looking at Nicholls stable analysis statistics over the past 10 years, I was amazed that the track where he’s had the most runners is Cheltenham; 777 with 116 winners (14.90%). At only one other track (where Nicholls has sent at least 100 runners) does he have a worse strike-rate, and that’s Aintree (36 wins from 310 runners; 11.60%). Despite Nicholls having a well-earned reputation for sending out chasers, it is his hurdlers that do best at Cheltenham; 48 winners from 265 runners (that’s 18.1%).

There are a good number of tracks where Nicholls rarely ventures. Most are a long-way-off (Market Rasen, Kelso, Sedgefield, Cartmel, Newcastle, Carlisle and Musselburgh) from the stable base at Ditcheat in Somerset, but some are fairly close-by such as Towcester and Ffos Las. Of the remainder, pay close attention to any runners he sends to Folkestone (33.90%), Plumpton (31.0%), Perth (33.3%), Leicester (38.1%), Southwell (50.0%),and Fakenham (43.9%).

At only 4 tracks (other than Cheltenham and Aintree) does Nicholls have a strike-rate below 20%; they are Ascot (15.5%), Ayr (15.1%), Haydock (15.5%), and Ludlow (17.6%)

Whatever you do, pay close attention to anything Nicholls sends out for the remainder of October. Outside of the summer months, which really don’t count, October is the month when he has his highest strike-rate, 30.60% with 159 winners from 519 runners producing his smallest losing margin; a loss of just £13.70 to a £1 level stake.

Today’s Horseracing

There is only a single jump meeting today at Huntingdon.
I cannot see the novice chase SWINCOMBE ROCK being beaten, but he’ll be at prohibitive odds so I won’t be tempted to have a wager. The 3m2f handicap hurdle at 3:20 will be a real stamina test, and I feel that the likely fav Thai Vango could be found out. He’s never won at trips beyond 2m6f in 7 attempts (4 x 2nds at 3-mile) and he’s one-paced which suggests he does not stay it. That cannot be said for INGHWUNG who looks every bit a stayer, especially her win at Fontwell in Apr-08. She was off for 18-months then (injury?) and has been highly tried since. Her latest run showed she’s coming back to her best and she has been given plenty of time to realise her potential. She is only 4/1 tho’ and I would prefer some slightly longer odds. If you can get 11/2 or more, then an eachway wager is the way to go, otherwise no bet.

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Monday, 11 October 2010

Add THE LAST DERBY to your alert list

In today’s blog:-
Review of last week’s horseracing
Today’s Horseracing

Review of last weeks’s horseracing

There was no blog on Saturday (I was “pressed” into gardening duties).
The good thing about last week’s racing was that we finally said goodbye to the flat season, and a warm “hello” to the jumps. Friday’s blog was successful in suggesting OVERQUEST as a “lay”, tho’ it was close! The horse was clear 3-out and touched 1.10 in-running. It was only after the last that he lost the lead, and was beaten into 2nd.

On Saturday, there were 3 jumps meetings – yet none were on terrestrial tv! Paul Nicholls always hits the ground running, and he sent out 4 winners from 9 runners (with 3 others placed). Phil Hobbs also had 4 winners from his 10 runners (also having 3 others placed). You may recall that on 3rd August, I said the following about BALLYCARNEY; “his 2nd to Putney Bridge was a cracking run (gave him 8lb then and would now receive 14lb – so no wonder he was btn 12 lengths). He didn’t stay 28f LTO (race won by stablemate Ouzbeck) so this return to 3-mile will suit him.” As luck would have it, he was beaten that day (did not stay the 3m 1½f trip – not 3 mile as stated on 3rd-Aug), but he’s won both his races since, including on Saturday at 8/1 when racing over 3-mile. Read the blog and take note - I don't just give a list of selections.

Over in Ireland yesterday, the Munster National was run at Limerick. This can be a good race to find horses to follow. Last year, Paddy Pub came 3rd and won his next start, and Operation Houdini who was 4th won 3 of his next 4 starts. As such, it may be that the 1st-2 home yesterday could have had a hard race. However, the 6yo in 3rd Tinakelly Lad ran well, as the “good” going was far too quick for him and when he’s racing on “heavy” he will show marked improvement. There was a lot of money for THE LAST DERBY in this race, and the booking of Barry Geraghty was eye-catching. The horse has only had 7 chase runs, and he’s now almost certainly slipped back to the OR130 mark off which he won a listed handicap chase at Ascot last October; take note!

Followers of Kauto Star may be interested to know that his 4yo half-brother KAUTO STONE won at Auteuil in France yesterday. He was offered for sale at Brightwells in April 2007 as a 2yo for £90,000 but there were no takers. I thought he may be offered at this autumn’s Cheltenham “Horses in Training“ Sale, but he’s not entered. Perhaps he will secure the final “wild card” entry on the back of this win.

Today’s Horseracing
There are no jumps meetings today, and I am not spending time scratching for a winner at any of the flat meetings on offer.

No selection today for the blog.

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Friday, 8 October 2010

Twiston-Davies in tip-top form

In today’s blog:-
Review of yesterday’s horseracing
Today’s Horseracing

Review of yesterday’s horseracing

I did tell you Nigel Twiston-Davies had his stable in top form, and I did tell you where his 3 horses where running – and 2 won @ 16/1 and 4/1, with the other horse 3rd beaten just half-a-length @ 3/1. So, for the 2nd day in succession, a tremendous winning opportunity for multiple-bet punters.
Nicky Henderson’s OWEN GLENDOWER romped home @ 7/4 which was, in my opinion, very generous odds. The two other horses mentioned in the blog both ran unplaced, tho’ JUSTABOUT was looking likely to be placed until a bad mistake 2-out, and should be given another chance, maybe over less than 3-mile as he looked exhausted. Also at Exeter, DOVERS HILL put up a much improved display of jumping to win easily. This horse twice fell at the last fence last season (with races at his mercy), and he could turn-out to be an OR140+ chaser this season. And I remember Jim Best was very diplomatic when I AM BLUE beat his horse NORTHERN LAD last-time-out, but he recouped the loss yesterday winning in a canter, his jockey merely had to keep him going under a hands’n’heels ride.

On the flat at Newbury, one for the notebook for next season was VANGUARD DREAM who remained unbeaten when taking his 3rd start winning from the front, and running-on in a game and resolute manner. He looks up to being “listed” class next season and should get a mile plus.

Today’s Horseracing

Just the single jumps meetings at Carlisle today, and I remember at last year’s meeting I did particularly well following the runners of trainer J Howard Johnson. He sends 5 there today, including a winner at this meeting Alvarado for the novice chase.
The opening novice hurdles look wide open, so I’ll give them a miss.
I should do the same with the novice chase as most are jumping a fence in public for the first time, Trainers J Howard Johnson, Jonjo O’Neill and Nicky Richards have the best records at Carlisle (and Twiston-Davies also has a runner in this), and one I noted from the Festival as running well was BORN AGAIN who will handle the going and stay todays 20f trip. However, the same can be said for all the market leaders, so this is a race to watch rather than get involved in.
The 2-mile handicap chase usually goes to a market-leader (only 1 winner at odds greater than 7/1 in past 10 runnings) and for me ET MAINTENANT fits the bill and odds of 4/1 look fair. I would not be surprised to see a bold run from CAVERS GLEN in this as he won his last race at Carlisle and tho’ off the track for 705 days, he is still just an 8yo and looks on a handy mark. At 16/1 he’s worth a eachway nibble (especially if you can get 20’s plus).
Overquest is the 13/8 fav for the 3-mile handicap chase but, at those odds, he is worth opposing. There are several young horses in this race with the potential to win, such as Foxesbow and Blazing Diva, and also Western Gale if he can find his “Irish” form. So, I would “lay” Overquest in this.

No selection today for the blog, but I would expect a bold run from ET MAINTENANT and I do not think Overquest is a 13/8 chance and is more likely to get beat.

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Thursday, 7 October 2010

Owen Glendower to delight Henderson?

In today’s blog:-
Review of yesterday’s horseracing
Today’s Horseracing

Review of yesterday’s horseracing

Yesterday at Ludlow, the fav for the 3-mile chase TRITONVILLE LODGE was pulled-up lame, which was most unfortunate. Let’s hope that the horse recovers well. The each-way selection in that race, WHATABOUTYA, looked like being involved in the finish about a mile-out, but was beaten before the 2nd-last. Despite having winning form over 3-miles in Ireland (3 wins & 2 x 2nds from 11 runs at 23f+) this horse looks a doubtful stayer in class 3 chases here in England and either needs a significant drop in the handicap, or a drop in trip to 2m 6f or a bit shorter. The winner, KING ROONAH paid a big compliment to Swincombe Rock who beat him at Perth in September. Being just a 6yo, KING ROONAH is a horse with a future, especially as he carried 11:7 to victory in this chase.

At Towcester, Michael Flips was beaten in his debut chase, so it was right to avoid a wager at odds of 10/11. The winner of the race was trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies who’s run of good from continues. He sent 3 horses to Towcester, and was rewarded with 2 winners (at 13/2 and 5/2) and a 2nd at 10/1. My each-way selection ART DECO, never got into the race at all despite being the subject of a gamble from 10/1 into an SP of 9/2. There is clearly ability there and (hopefully) it will emerge soon.

Today’s Horseracing
There are two jumps meetings, at Exeter and Worcester, along with a flat meeting at Newbury.
Nigel Twiston-Davies sends just Ammunition to Exeter for the 3:35, a class 4 chase over 3-mile, and his son Sam (3lb claimer) has the ride.
At this time of the season in handicap chases, I am a supporter of the “youngest” 2nd-season chaser in any handicap race. The basic premise being that horse’s generally always have the ability they were born with, and only get slower with age. Younger horses gain experience at jumping and “pace” themselves better and, not so much improve as, “get things right”. As such, there is more likelihood that they are well-handicapped as their ability (should they have it) has not yet been shown. The youngest horses in the race are the three 7yo’s; Vamizi, Justabout, and Prophete De Guye. Vamizi got it right just once last season when winning over C&D, and a repeat of that would see him go well here. But, he’s been off 175 days and may need this run. Prophete De Guye is well-exposed as a chaser despite being a 7yo and I’ll pass him over. That leave’s JUSTABOUT who comes here off a good run just 47-days ago. He will easily stay this 3-mile trip, has won 2 of his last 4 starts, and has the best speed rating. He carried 11:12 LTO (carries just 10:6 today) and has won carrying 11:9, so he will be (hopefully) skipping along in this. The going should not be a problem, but his odds are for me; he’s just 9/2 at best, so I cannot advise a wager at those odds as I was hoping for 8/1 at least.

At Worcester, Twiston-Davies sends two runners. But I’m more interested in the 2-mile novice hurdle which was won by Get Me Out Of Here last season. Nicky Henderson sends his only runner today for this OWEN GLENDOWER and, tho’ he’ll be a red-hot fav with Barry Geraghty riding, this race is worth making a note of.
The mare’s hurdles at 4:20 over 2m4f looks a good contest. I have a bit of a soft-spot for DOT’S DELIGHT who is a consistent hurdler who appreciates a bit of “give” in the ground and stays 2m4f. Throw-in decent 3lb claimer Peter (o) Toole, and at 8/1 we should get a good run for our money if going each-way.

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Wednesday, 6 October 2010

New owners for Liverpool FC?

Not much time today, I have been spending too much time on the sale of Liverpool FC. Good news? Who knows.

There are a couple of decent jumps meetings today, with a good class 3 chase at Ludlow over 3-mile at 3:20. Tritonville Lodge could prove very hard to beat as his latest run when 2nd to Mad Jack Duncan looks good form as that horse has won again since off a mark 9lb higher and is due to race off OR112 - which is 16lbs more than when he beat Tritonville Lodge. Current odds of 11/2 look very fair for this lightly raced chaser. There are questionmarks about a lot of these, and so I quite like the chance of Whataboutya from Jonjo O'Neill. I believe he has a much better chance than the 11/1 currently quoted as he has run well in his past couple of races and todays trip and going will suit him.

At Towcester, there is usually a decent winner of the novice chase, and Michael Flips should oblige today, but his odds of 10/11 are too short for me. I am more interested in the hurdle at 3:30. Trainer, Charlie Egerton has a great record at Towcester (3 wins from 4 runners over hurdles) and his only runner today is a Group 3 winner on the flat ART DECO. His latest hurdle run (his 3rd) was a much improved effort, and this could be his day to get his head in front as there is a lot of deadwood in this race. Odds of 12/1 suggest an eachway wager.

That's my view on today's racing. No time really to make a firm selection, and what I will be doing is having a small eachway double on:-

Towcester 3:30 ART DECO @ 12/1, and
Ludlow 3:20 WHATABOUTYA @ 11/1

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Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Tiger Woods Top US Scorer @ 11/2

In today’s blog:-
More Prix De L’Arc de Triomphe analysis
Today’s Racing Selection
The Ryder Cup

More Prix De L’Arc de Triomphe analysis
Yesterday, after reading that SARAFINA (3rd in the Prix De L’Arc de Triomphe) was considered a very unlucky loser, I reviewed the race many times (especially the final 3f) in some detail.
What I did not expand on in yesterday’s blog was why SARAFINA came from such a long way back to be 3rd. She was very badly hampered by the retreating Midas Touch about 3f out (it’s hard to say exactly where as there is little if anything in the way of furlong poles at Longchamp), and lost a handy position in about 8th (about 2–lengths in front of eventual winner Workforce) to end-up about 3-lengths behind that horse. Jockey Mosse then, in an effort to recover, took his mount quickly to the outside and went for broke. Partly due to her terrific turn-of-foot, and partly due to having an unimpeded run down the outside; SARAFINA finished like a train – or that’s how it seemed. I believe that the horse (along with the winner Workforce, runner-up Nakayama Festa, and the 4th Behkabad) was staying-on passing beaten horses. Nearly all the 1st-7 or 8 home had “issues” about interference (only the Nakayama Festa escaped any serious interference), so to take SERAFINA’s situation in isolation is a bit unfair. Even so, she is a very capable filly and – as I said yesterday – you have to wonder just how good the mare MIDDAY is who beat her in the Prix Vermeille?

I am always researching for subjects and angles, not just for the blog, but to improve my appreciation of form, and I came across an article written by Nick Mordin (published in the Weekender on 8th September) in which he explains that following 3yo’s (on the flat) who have achieved an RPR118+ rating without showing similar for before can prove profitable as “generally” the average punter does not believe the formline. He named the following qualifiers; Workforce, Sarafina, and Behkabad amongst a few others. I have growing admiration for Nick Mordin and his methods. He sometimes comes out with a few “no-balls”, but he has an uncanny ability to throw the odd “googly”. You have to swim against the tide; rail against the herd; if you are to profit from having a wager on the horses.

Today’s Racing Selection
I did say on Sunday that, with the running of the Prix De L’Arc de Triomphe, my attention was now fully on the jumps racing scene. It is but, in the absence of any jumps racing, I have to advise you of a recent winning selection of mine MUSIC OF THE MOOR, running again at Leicester in the 3:40. My comments after winning LTO were: “As expected, the step-up in trip to 12f really suited, but I think it was the soft going that really made the difference as the horse cruised through it. MUSIC OF THE MOOR looked set to run away with the race 2f-out but his run up the rail was halted after which he had to switch into the centre of the track but, still under a hands’n’heels ride, he took command of the race and ran out a comfortable winner”. The early odds of 11/2 look very fair with the prospect of heavy going, over a trip of 12f and with MUSIC OF THE MOOR only raised 5lb for his comfortable win with plenty in hand LTO. Take each-way.
Thankfully, there are a couple of jumps meetings on Wednesday.

Last, but not least, what about the Ryder Cup!
In my blog of 30th September, I wrote that I thought that the US team had greater strength in depth, “but having better players is no guarantee of success in a team game”. I believe that was proved in yesterday’s singles when the US team nearly pulled-of a magnificent comeback in winning 6 of the 12 singles, halving 2 others, and so losing just 4.
In that same blog, I wrote that I thought one player would find the arena inspirational, as he had a point to prove – and I was right in naming that golfer as Tiger Woods. Yesterday, he won his singles match 4 & 3 which, when you consider he was 2-down after 5 holes, was remarkable (see yesterday’s blog). Woods won 6 of the next 8 holes to be 4-up after the 13th hole. Woods was 9 under-par after playing just 15 holes of that singles match. He ended-up joint top US points scorer on 3pts with Steve Stricker (who happened to be his playing partner on the four-balls and foursomes). My suggestion of having 2pts @ 11/2 about Woods being top US scorer was right on the button (half-odds as joint winner with Stricker) providing a 5.50pt profit.
Tiger Woods looked phenomenal yesterday, and he is one to be on the right side of wherever he plays next.

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Monday, 4 October 2010

Workforce recaptures brilliance

What a cracking finish to the Prix De L’Arc de Triomphe!
As I anticipated yesterday (see the blog) the very soft going did indeed prove an obstacle to those trying to come from a long way off the pace, as it generally slowed down the race to the extent that with less than 3f to run there were at least half the field still holding a winning position and as they passed the 2f pole there must’ve been 7 horses “line-abreast” across the course.
Despite the bumping and boring, you cannot take anything away from WORKFORCE who recaptured his Derby winning form. Such was his brilliant display at Epsom back in June that if he was able to find that form again then it was unlikely that any in this field would be able to beat him – and so it proved. My primary selection, Fame And Glory, was well-placed if he was good enough, but perhaps the lack of a recent preparatory run did for him as when asked he found nothing. That is no disgrace in this quality field, and he’s one to seriously consider next-time-out. My other consideration, Calvalryman, merely stayed-on having held a decent position for much of the race, and perhaps this going was too soft for him. Tremendous credit must be given to the runner-up NAKAYAMA FESTA from Japan. He came with a great run and almost took the race. And you also have to consider the future prospects of the 3rd SARAFINA, who came from a long way back on the outside. The Prix de Dianne winner was having only her 5th start, and you have to wonder now just how good is the Henry Cecil trained Midday who beat her fair-and-square in the Prix Vermeille?
What I would say is that the pictures provided by the French TV were excellent. The overhead shots and the close-ups in slow motion were amazing, a real spectacle. I believe there is something to be learned there by UK broadcasters trying to appeal to a wider audience. As for the BBC, and putting Willie Carson on a box next to Clare Balding – isn’t it about time that the diminutive Scot was retired? He has never looked comfortable on tv (when in a morning suit for Royal Ascot he looks like a ventriloquist dummy) and his comments are far from informative, as he usually states the obvious. It again begs the question of the BBC as to why they are continuing to televise racing? They either leave it to Channel 4 and the other independents (ATR and Racing UK) or they embrace the sport properly and do it justice.

The Ryder Cup
I woke this morning feeling a tiny bit confident that my advised 2pt wager on Tiger Woods to be the top-scoring US player at odds of 11/2 may be successful. He’s scored 2pts from 3 matches, with Steve Stricker, Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar also on 2pts. However, as I write (at 11:10am) Stricker and Kuchar are losing, but Cink is ahead (1 up) and Tiger is 2-down after just 2-holes!
It looks like the Europeans are going to give the Yanks a good thrashing today and send them back across the pond with their tails between their legs.

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Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Prix De L’Arc de Triomphe

This is “the” race of the European flat season.
It holds a special place in the hearts of the British racegoer, and my memories of it go back to my childhood watching grainy black & white pictures on the BBC which gave up perhaps a 10 minute slot on a Sunday afternoon. The focus of attention was always on the mount of Lester Piggott, and he rode some great horses, unfortunately mostly in defeat. Sir Ivor, Park Top, and Ardross to name a few.
This year’s race is no less alluring. Can runaway Derby winner Workforce recapture his spectacular effort of that day in June? Will the winner of the Prix Niel – Bekhabad – uphold that races great record of providing winners of the “Arc”? Can Youmzain finally go one better after finishing runner-up 3 times to the brilliance of Sea The Stars, Zarkava, and Dylan Thomas?
My take on the race is that it looks fairly open, and yet there is in the ranks a horse who, but for Sea The Stars, would easily have been the champion 3yo colt of 2009; and that is FAME AND GLORY. He has a poor draw (drawn 1 of the 20 starters), but on the rain-softened “very soft” going that may not be a bad thing as I reckon it may prove difficult to come from a long way behind today and take the race. He is my idea of the winner on class alone and at 11/2, he represents a fair wager. The only other horse who looks capable of running better than his current odds is CAVALRYMAN who ran 3rd in this race last year. Forget his other poor runs this season, he has been aimed solely to run well in this race, and with the application of 1st-time blinkers and the going probably much in his favour, he will almost certainly run better than his current odds of 18/1.

That’s it for the season as far as Flat Racing goes. From now until we know the winner of the 2011 Grand National it is jumps all the way! To be fair, I have been winding-down the flat racing operation for a few weeks now, and September is never the best of months to be looking for winners on the flat as the unpredictable weather affects the going, and that affects the results. That is not to say that winners cannot be found, but you have to search for them even harder than normal.

There was a tremendous day’s racing at Newmarket on Friday with a couple of cracking performances from the 2yo’s, both fillies and colts. It was the performance of DREAM AHEAD that looked the most impressive of the day when winning the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes. The horse looked very imposing before the race and was physically much bigger than the others. That superiority showed in the race as his jockey was restraining him at halfway and merely had to loosen his hold on the reins to let DREAM AHEAD lengthen his stride and it was “game over” in a matter of strides. The acceleration was phenomenal and it is very rare that a Group 1 race is won in such an emphatic manner. The question to naturally ask is “what did he beat?” Approve in 3rd won the Gimcrack (Group 2). Temple Meads (3rd in the Gimcrack) won the Mill Reef (Group 2).Strong Suit won the Coventry (Group 2). So, without doubt, this was as good a field as any ever assembled for the race. I thought the pace to halfway in this 6-furlong race was moderate, and DREAM AHEAD was certainly “hard-held” at the rear, altho’ he was only 3-lengths off the pace. With the race won and DREAM AHEAD in an unassailable lead, the remainder of the field “relaxed” and the only downside of the result is OR90 rated Foghorn Leghorn coming in 5th just 2-lengths behind OR113 rated Strong Suit. It may be that the going suited DREAM AHEAD (by Diktat, and his progeny appreciate “cut” in the ground) more than the others and the result is exaggerated. I would also worry about his physical size as he may not have much growth left in him over the winter.
On paper, the performance of the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes winner HOORAY was even better. Making all at a terrific pace, the filly had them all beat inside the 2-furlong pole and won in a time 0.19 secs quicker (about a length). HOORAY is by Invincible Spirit and that sire has an excellent record with his 2yo’s and tho’ some do train on, HOORAY may be best at trips under a mile as a 3yo. From what I have seen, I would not be having an antepost wager on either for their respective Guineas races.

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Friday, 1 October 2010

2yo's on show at Newmarket

In today’s blog:-
Review of yesterday’s racing
Today’s Racing Selections

Review of yesterday’s racing

The two horses noted in the narrative yesterday SACRED SHIELD and TAX FREE both ran well, in fact TAX FREE was beaten just a neck into 2nd at 9/2 (touched 5/1). Had he shown a bit more determination, TAX FREE may have turned that effort into a winning one. Henry Cecil’s SACRED SHIELD was unplaced, but was staying-on well in the final quarter-mile and may be one to look out for next time she runs.
A stat that I noticed after posting the blog was concerning Sir Michael Stoute. He ran Protondo Rosso in the Nursery (2yo handicap) at Newmarket. The horse ran unplaced (came 7th) and was the 5/2 fav. The main reason I write this is that in the past 5 seasons, from 334 2yo runners, he’s only sent out 27 runners in nurseries of which 6 (22%) have won, producing a profit of £11.50 to a £1 level stake. It is the only arena in which he makes a betting profit on his 2yo’s – make note!

Today’s Racing Selections

Just the solitary Flat (turf) meeting at Newmarket, with two AW meetings at Lingfield and Wolverhampton; and a jumps meeting at Hexham.
The meeting at Newmarket is an absolute cracker (why oh why have they given away the Champion Stakes). The Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes for fillies only is of particular interest for those looking to find the winner of next season’s 1000 Guineas. This looks a competitive renewal and I cannot split them. A race to watch, savour, and take note.
The Group 3 Joel Stakes has a tremendous field and my initial view is to go for the horse from stable in form – ALEXANDROS from Saeed Bin Suroor who has his stable in unstoppable form of late. With 10 winners from 29 runners in the past 14-days he’s the man in the driving seat and 9/2 about ALEXANDROS looks fair given he’ll enjoy the soft going, and the trip (a mile) and he’s probably capable of winning a Group1 when at top form.
If ALWAARY is fit after a break of 409 days he’ll take the listed Godolphin Stakes at 4:15 but, if he isn’t, quite where the winner will come from is anyone’s guess and Wajir may be the one if finding his form on soft from last season.
The meeting at Hexham looks attractive and well worth watching and noting.

Selection:
Newmarket 1:55 ALEXANDROS, 2pts win @ 9/2

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