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Record of the blog selections

Profit for the 2016-17 Jumps Season = £84.38

from wagers on 26 individual selections (4 winners, 6 placed)

Total Staked = £280.00


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This blog is based on finding winners - if you want to lose your money then read another blog.
advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Master Minded 5/2 for the QMCC

It was disappointing to see the blog selection CHAPOTURGEON put in such a temperamental performance on Saturday. His mind just was not on the job, which is a great shame as despite being well behind the field after less than half-a-mile, he managed to get back into the race after halfway, passing Buffalo Bob, Drever Route and Noland. His jumping is not fluent, but it never has been. He does tho’, have a good engine, but the jumping errors took their toll. He perhaps needs some respite now from the handicapper.

To recap on this month’s blog selections:
8th Jan, SILVER BY NATURE, ½pt ew @ 16/1 Lost … (1.00pts)
8th Jan, EXMOOR RANGER, ½pt ew @ 16/1 Lost … (2.00pts)
8th Jan, FREE WORLD, ½pt ew @ 9/1 Lost … (3.00pts)
15th Jan, ZANIR, ½pt ew @ 22/1; placed 4th, +2.25pts … (0.75pts)
15th Jan, BINOCULAR, 2pts win @ 11/4; WON +5.50pts … +4.75pts
15th Jan, PLANET OF SOUND, ½pt ew @ 20/1; Lost … +3.75pts
19th Jan, CAPTAIN TIDDS, ½pt ew @ 17/2; Lost … +2.75pts
22nd Jan, PICKAMUS, ½pt eachway @ 14/1; Lost …+1.75pts
22nd Jan, BRADFORD BORIS, ½pt eachway @ 8/1; Lost …+0.75pts
28th Jan, SAGALYRIQUE, 1pt win @ 100/30; WON +3.33pts …+4.08pts
29th Jan, CHAPOTURGEON, 1pt win @ 11/1; Lost …+3.08pts
29th Jan, CHAPOTURGEON, ½pt eachway @ 11/1; Lost …+2.08pts

There is no selection today, so we end the month in profit by 2.08pts on a turnover of 13pts, that’s a 16% return on investment.

Looking back at the weekends racing, I really should have taken advantage of the generous odds available on Neptune Collonges on Saturday morning. Some other tipsters that blog their selections did (take a bow Theuphillbattle - see the adjacent link to his blog) and grabbed the 10/1 on offer in the morning. It may well have been his “Gold Cup”, and altho’ I don’t think he is up to winning the blue ribbon of chasing, there is always 3rd place. The spectacle of watching Neptune Collonges and Midnight Chase fight it out for the lead means the Gold Cup will be a thorough test of stamina. I hope supporters of Long Run appreciate this.

Grand Crus won the Cleeve Hurdle in some style and is clearly a very good horse. But he only beat a hotch-potch of horses in this race, many of whom were using it as a warm-up for a handicap chase at the Festival to avoid spoiling their chase ratings (ie. Knockara Beau, Mobaasher, Bensalem) and the staying hurdlers in this were all well-off World Hurdle class (Restless Harry, Kayf Aramis, Fair Along, Spirit River). But he could do no more than win well, and that he did.

The big news on Sunday was Golden Silver beating BIG ZEB in the Tied Cottage 2-mile chase at Punchestown. Golden Silver has now won 7 of his 9 starts in the months of December/January, and the soft going was in his favour too (7 wins from 13 starts on soft/heavy). The going was no disadvantage to BIG ZEB (6 wins from 13 starts on soft/heavy), but he’s no “winter” star – from 9 starts in Dec/Jan he’s won only 4 times. This race should prime him for the Champion Chase in March, but in my opinion the best 2-mile chase performance we’ve seen this season was from Master Minded when winning the Tingle Creek, and he will appreciate the pace and competition in the Champion Chase – he won’t be idling in front there after the 2nd-last fence.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.

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

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Cracking 100/30 winner yesterday

Great winner for the blog yesterday. Just the one selection SAGALYRIQUE won in some style taking the race from the front from over a mile out to make his stamina tell. Winning with an SP of 11/4, if you’d taken the odds advised of 100/30 at the time of posting the blog then you’d have done well; but the selection drifted to 7/2 with a few bookies – so the value was available.

To recap on this month’s blog selections:
8th Jan, SILVER BY NATURE, ½pt ew @ 16/1 Lost … (1.00pts)
8th Jan, EXMOOR RANGER, ½pt ew @ 16/1 Lost … (2.00pts)
8th Jan, FREE WORLD, ½pt ew @ 9/1 Lost … (3.00pts)
15th Jan, ZANIR, ½pt ew @ 22/1; placed 4th, +2.25pts … (0.75pts)
15th Jan, BINOCULAR, 2pts win @ 11/4; WON +5.50pts … +4.75pts
15th Jan, PLANET OF SOUND, ½pt ew @ 20/1; Lost … +3.75pts
19th Jan, CAPTAIN TIDDS, ½pt ew @ 17/2; Lost … +2.75pts
22nd Jan, PICKAMUS, ½pt eachway @ 14/1; Lost …+1.75pts
22nd Jan, BRADFOR BORIS, ½pt eachway @ 8/1; Lost …+0.75pts
28th Jan, SAGALYRIQUE, 1pt win @ 100/30; WON +3.33pts …+4.08pts

A great days racing at Cheltenham, wish I was there. Just the one selection, a horse I wanted to be on last weekend but the Haydock meeting was abandoned. It’s CHAPOTURGEON. I made a mental note to be on this horse the next time the word “soft” was in the going description. The 2m5f is right up his street, he stayed on well over an inadequate trip LTO, and he has nothing to fear in this race. At odds of 11/1, he looks a cracking eachway wager.

Selection:
Cheltenham 2:00 CHAPOTURGEON, ½pt ew @ 11/1 plus 1pt win @ 11/1 with William Hill who offers best odds guaranteed.
Total = 2pts staked

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.

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

Friday, 28 January 2011

The start of a big weekend

There are a couple of decent meetings today at Doncaster and Fontwell. I won’t be spending too much time on these this morning as tomorrow we have the splendid “Trials” meeting at Cheltenham, and the Skybet Chase at Doncaster.

Fontwell opens with a beginner’s chase of 5 runners for horses yet to win a chase. Paul Nicholls sends Definity which is odds-on, but the enigmatic STRAW BEAR is also entered. This grade 1 hurdler is having his 7th chase race today, but what makes him interesting is that AP McCoy renews his association with the horse. He’s been in the saddle whenever the horse has done well – including when he won the Christmas hurdle in 2007 which was the last time the horse won. If anyone can win on STRAW BEAR, McCoy can and the morning odds of 11/4 look fair. There’s nothing else that jumps out from the card.

At Doncaster, the class 3 handicap chase at 3:40 could provide the day’s wager. It is over the odd trip of 2m3f and there is one horse in the race that will suit this sort of trip – Russian Flag. His last run was a stinker, but there were only 4 runners in the race and it was won by Matuhi off OR125 (now 10lb higher on OR135) so I can forgive him that run as before that his form was progressing well. Russian Flag does not stay a yard further than 2m3f (and this trip may be stretching his stamina) and the going is also probably a bit quick for him (needs the word “soft” in the going description), but he has claimer Alex Mirriam in the saddle and he seems to get the best from him. He was the horse that my heart wanted to wager on but, with questions over going and trip and form, the fav SAGALYRIQUE, who would prefer 21f-plus, looks a better wager at 100/30. It was a bit round the houses way of going about things, but the others look more like 2-milers and have bigger questions to answer than the fav who won LTO.

Selection:
Doncaster 3:40 SAGALYRIQUE, 1pt win @ 100/30 (Stan James)

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.

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

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Master Minded now @ 11/4 for QMCC

After a couple of quiet days on the racing scene, I’ve had a bit of time to reflect upon the weekend’s results (and non-events).

Saturday, saw the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot go to MASTER MINDED by the skin of his teeth. However, the margin of his victory does not reflect the manner of his victory. The running of the race was severely affected by the departure of Petit Robin 5-out, and that fall led to Kalahari King being nearly carried-out. That Kalahari King managed to stay on to be 4th, just under 2-lengths behind 3rd-placed Mad Max, makes you wonder where he’d have finished had he not suffered interference. Prior to the departure of Petit Robin, MASTER MINDED had already jumped himself into the lead and, from then on, was not headed being well clear (4-lengths plus) at the 2nd-last. He had perhaps been on his own a tad too long by then, and started to lose interest which meant AP McCoy (not his regular rider) had to “drive” him into the last fence. On the run-in, Somersby kept on and very nearly led on the line. Much has been made of this result on the forums, but the fact remains that MASTER MINDED won the race and he had the race in the bag at the 2nd-last fence. It looked a decent performance from MASTER MINDED to me, and the odds of 11/4 for the QMCC (from Vic Chandler) look a bit generous as he won’t be allowed to saunter into a 4-length lead at the 2nd-last in that race. The extra competition will keep his mind on the job. In my opinion, MASTER MINDED is still the only chaser capable of a 170+ performance over the QMCC trip, and he has the potential to hit 180. Whereas Somersby has improved this season to a 164+ 2-mile chaser, it won’t be good enough for the QMCC, and he is unproven at Grade 1 level over 21f – the distance of the Ryanair.

Antepost Selection:
For the Queen Mother Champion Chase on 16th March
MASTER MINDED, 1pt win @ 11/4 (with Victor Chandler)

We lost the meeting at Haydock on Saturday and it was a big blow to Donald McCain and PEDDLERS CROSS. Preparation for the Festival is now in full-swing and even minor upsets can have an effect on performances come the big day. That McCain was so angry about the abandonment of the meeting suggests he needed the race to go ahead. Despite the non-show of PEDDLERS CROSS, he has been trimmed in the Champion Hurdle betting to 11/2 (from 6’s). McCain is now looking at a final race prior to the Champion Hurdle on 5th February – either at Ffos Las or Sandown. If all else fails, the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton on 19th Feb remains a possibility.

Over in Ireland, Sunday saw a cracking meeting at Leopardstown with the Irish Arkle and the Irish Champion Hurdle. Peddlers Cross had been entered for the hurdle and then diverted to Haydock, which must have been particularly galling for McCain. The Arkle was the first of those races run and it was a cracking line-up of 6 of the best Irish novice 2-mile chasers. The fav was REALT DUBH who eventually won, but the market had plenty of support for NOBLE PRINCE and FLAT OUT. The latter was going well and looked likely to go close when falling at the 2nd-last. It was an over-exuberant leap that was his downfall and it’s since been learned that the horse chipped a bone in the fall and is out for the season. Let’s hope he returns next season, and he could be on a cracking handicap mark! It was left to REALT DUBH and NOBLE PRINCE to fight out the finish. NOBLE PRINCE led after the last but was unable to maintain the advantage and went down by the shortest of heads. To me, it was an excellent piece of form as both horses had their jumping put under test as speed. At this point, punters have to make a decision – whether to value Irish form or English form higher. RP Ratings have valued both these horses at 154, which is 6lb less than GHIZAO (trained by Paul Nicholls) and 2lb less than FINIANS RAINBOW (trained by Nicky Henderson) and the latter has yet to jump a fence under pressure at speed. I would put the Irish form a few pounds higher than 154, but then I rate GHIZAO a better horse that 160.

Next up was HURRICANE FLY who won the Irish Champion Hurdle beating Solwhit (again). For me, this was the best performance I’ve seen from HURRICANE FLY as he had both Solwhit and 3rd-placed stablemate Thousand Stars flat-out to the boards trying to match him coming to the final flight. He quickened well from the last into a comfortable lead which he was able to maintain to the line. No doubt about it, this performance puts him in the mix for the Champion Hurdle. However, given that Henderson was confident when asked on Saturday (Morning Line on C4) that he knew the “key” to Binocular (plenty of work and hurdling practise as speed), it is likely that the “Fly” will need to improve another 7lb or more on what he’s done to date to master Binocular.

On known form, I reckon Binocular is a worthy fav and he could go to post as short at 9/4 (he’s 100/30 with Corals). Hurricane Fly will probably be 7/2 on the day (currently 9/2 with various bookies), with Peddlers Cross at 9/2 (currently 11/2), but it all depends on his next run. Menorah is currently at 5/1, but I can see him drifting in the market, as statistically he’s not favoured and he seems to relish coming off a slightly slower pace than he’ll get in the Champion Hurdle. When he won the Supreme last March it was run in a time 2.68 secs slower than the Champion Hurdle time of Binocular later on the card.

There are no selections for today’s racing. We dropped 2pts last Saturday.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.

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

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Ascot goes ahead!

We potentially had some decent racing around the country this weekend, with good meetings at Ascot, Haydock and Wincanton over the jumps, and it continues on Sunday when at Leopardstown there is the Irish Arkle and the Irish Champion Hurdle. But, we’ve lost Haydock this morning which is disappointing for me as I was going to put up MAKTU as one of today’s selections.

However, Wincanton goes ahead after a 2nd inspection. The betting markets are up in the air there as so many were double-entered due to the prospect of frost. In the 3:25, BRADFORD BORIS on 8/1 looks well-in. The seasonal debut will have brought him on, and he finished last season on a high. He can repeat his C&D win of last March.

Ascot goes ahead and what a meeting!
The Victor Chandler Chase is dominated by Master Minded and if he continues in the form he’s shown in winning at Ascot and Cheltenham this season, then he won’t be beaten. The two Henderson entries, Petit Robin and Mad Max are worthy contenders and, on form, hard to split. Mad Max has not shown the ability of last season, but this time he reverts to 2-mile from 2m5f and that could make the difference. Stable jockey Barry Geraghty is on Petit Robin, and he has run 2nd in this race twice before. At 8/1 as I write, he looks an eachway “steal” and he s 7/2 without the fav. Of the others, Somersby would probably prefer 20f, and the rest are outclassed.
Next on the card at Ascot is the Victor Chandler hurdle and AP McCoy has a rare ride for David Pipe on Notus De La Tour, now the subject of a market move. The return to the track of Walk On and Soldatino after long absences suggest that this is a race to watch and take note from.
The next is a 2m5f h’cap chase (class 2). There is likely to be a good pace in this with Pickamus and Soulard entered. Edgebriar seems best going LH. Breedsbreeze ran a cracker from an absence of 669 days LTO and tho’ he’ll come on for that, I think he’ll be best over 3-mile. I’m A Legend was found out off this rating, and at the class, LTO. Piraya will also be up with the lead thru’out, but he appears one-paced at the finish. Pickamus and especially Soulard, who has C&D form, look the best value. I’m on Pickamus at 14/1 (with Hills and Chandlers) as he’s run well on his last 2 outings, and his LTO fall was more a slip on landing. PICKAMUS is also on the blog Horse Alert list.

Selections:
Ascot 3:30, PICKAMUS, ½pt eachway @ 14/1 (Hills and Chandlers)
Wincanton 3:25, BRADFOR BORIS, ½pt eachway @ 8/1 (Hills and Betfred)
Total = 2pts staked

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.

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

Thursday, 20 January 2011

A glimmer of hope on the horizon

We should have given the racing a miss yesterday as the going at Newcastle, where the blog selection CAPTAIN TIDDS ran, was desperate. We lost a point on that one.

Neither of the meetings today at Ludlow or Taunton grab my attention, so I’m giving them a miss.

The Horse Alert list has stumbled along from one losing run to the next, but there may be a glimmer of hope on the horizon. ZANIR ran a cracking race to be 4th last Saturday @ 16/1 and looks likely to be primed for a Festival handicap hurdle. PICKAMUS is entered for the class 2 h’cap chase at Ascot this Saturday, and a big run is expected. Also, PALYPSO DE CREEK will try and go one better in the Peter Marsh at Haydock; he was 2nd to Our Vic last season in this race. From the Weekender this week, Nick Mordin shortlists KALELLSHAN, and then in his stabletour interview Ferdy Murphy has some great words of encouragement for GOING WRONG. He says of the horse “I would think he is the best staying novice chaser we have had here for a long time, if I am right then it will be (aimed at) the RSA Chase, he is going to be a smart staying chaser!” Readers of the blog will know that I put them onto this horse way back on 12th August 2010 when I wrote that this relation of Dublin Flyer was a real RSA prospect.

I was also taken by the column written by Paul Kealy in the Weekender, and his focus on the Ryanair Chase at the Festival. Regular readers of this blog will know that I came to the conclusion that Paul Kealy has come to, way back on 15th December 2010, a full 5 weeks before this column was published. And that is that when you look at the Ryanair, other than Poquelin there is very little in the betting for the race that is likely to (a) take part, or (b) have suitable going come March. Back in December, I identified POQUELIN at the standout price of 6/1, now he is 5/1, and come 17th March he will probably be the 9/4 fav or even shorter.

Looking ahead to Saturday, PEDDLERS CROSS looks virtually unbeatable in the Grade 2 hurdle at Haydock. If, as is likely, he does win then his Champion Hurdle odds will harden from the best of 6’s on offer today. Only Bet365 offer best odds guaranteed, but it is unlikely that you will get better the closer we get to raceday. If you are in the market for PEDDLERS CROSS, and I think he is the most exciting hurdler we’ve seen since Istabraq, then take the 6’s that’s on offer. Regular readers will hopefully have already taken advantage of the 14/1 that I advised taking back on 27th November. If you want to know where the markets are heading weeks (sometimes months) before the racing journo’s cotton-on, then read this blog!

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.

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

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Aye, aye Captain!

Despite not posting a “firm” blog selection yesterday, the narrative put readers onto a winning thread. Of the 4 horses discussed on the blog:-
KING JACK – advised no bet at the odds, and it lost.
MAX BYGRAVES – advised a place-lay, and it came 6th @ 7/2 so, and odds-on place-lay at about 1.90.
PETE THE FEAT – advised to take note of this runner as trainer had good strike rate at Folkestone and also with jockey (Felix de Giles), and it won at 11/4.
PORTRAIT ROYALE – same trainer/jockey combo as PETE THE FEAT, but unfortunately ran unplaced.

To recap on this month’s blog selections:
8th Jan, SILVER BY NATURE, ½pt ew @ 16/1 LOST … (1.00pts)
8th Jan, EXMOOR RANGER, ½pt ew @ 16/1 LOST … (2.00pts)
8th Jan, FREE WORLD, ½pt ew @ 9/1 LOST … (3.00pts)
15th Jan, ZANIR, ½pt ew @ 22/1; placed 4th, +2.25pts … (0.75pts)
15th Jan, BINOCULAR, 2pts win @ 11/4; WON +5.50pts … +4.75pts
15th Jan, PLANET OF SOUND, ½pt ew @ 20/1; LOST … +3.75pts

The blog is showing a profit this month from 6 nominated wagers of 3.75pts on an investment of 7.00pts. That’s an ROI (return on investment) of over 53%. If you’ve been in this game as long as I have, then you’ll know that anything above 10% is good.

However, as you can see from the opening statement, the nominated selections are only half the story. If you read the blog, you’ll be rewarded with nuggets of information that (depending on your level of risk) can reward you with further profits. For instance, last Saturday (along with BINOCULAR) there was a good word for only one horse in the Lanzarote Handicap – the winner @ 8/1 James de Vassy (take a look at the actual blog, it’s in the adjacent column "History in the making").

Don’t forget to read the Antepost pages.
Regular visitors will already be holding antepost wagers on the likes of:
PEDDLERS CROSS @ 14/1 (now just 6/1) for the Champion Hurdle;
GHIZAO @12/1 (now just 6/1) for the Arkle;
IMPERIAL COMMANDER @ 9/2 (now just 7/2) for the Gold Cup

Onto today’s racing.
As I write, there is still some doubt as to whether Newbury will go ahead. So, I’m giving that meeting a miss (so as not to waste my time and effort).
Newcastle goes ahead, and the going is soft (heavy in places). There are a couple I like the look of, the first being CAPTAIN TIDDS in the 2:15. Today’s 3-mile trip and soft/heavy going will be right for him as it will give him time to measure his fences. I think he is much better than OR123 and hopefully today he will show it. Cavers Glen is up 11lb for his LTO win; Negus De Beaumont has also been raised 8lb for his latest run; FiftyFive Degrees is a course winner but may prefer 20f. The worry for me is Daldini who runs today over the same trip/going that he last won on in Feb ’10. Since then he’s run 8 times, either over trips too far or on going too fast. But it’s CAPTAIN TIDDS at 17/2 for a reasonable eachway wager based on some good form last season.
I was hoping we’d see BENE LAD chasing again, but he’s in the hurdle at 2:50. He holds a good chance as he’s probably an OR110 chaser, so off OR94 in this hurdle he’s well treated. But both Kings Guard and Tiger Line are no back numbers, so I’d be looking for 7/2 or more before having a wager.

Selection:-
Newcastle 2:15, CAPTAIN TIDDS, ½pt eachway @ 17/2 (Corals, Vic Chandler, 5th odds a place)
Total = 1pt staked

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.

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

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Celebrations tonight at the Eight Bells?

Anna Newton-Smith who trains at Jevington (near Eastbourne) in Sussex (if your down that way, take in the Eight Bells pub, fantastic view over the South Downs, and pictures of Anna’s horses line the walls) only ever has winners at her local tracks of Plumpton, Folkestone, Lingfield and Fontwell – and at Plumpton and Fontwell she has very respectable strike-rates with her chasers. As such, you cannot ignore her two entries at Folkestone today; PEAT THE FEAT in the 3:10 and PORTRAIT ROYALE in the 3:40. When Felix de Giles rides it means her horses should be taken seriously.

At Southwell, in the opening race at 1:00, KING JACK could take the spoils. Not the best of jumpers, he should appreciate these smaller obstacles. He has been off 301 days, and has needed a run in the past, but even so he looks on a handy mark when you look at the race he won at Huntingdon last February. He does not stay 3-mile, so his next run can be ignored. But LTO, he was going well for a long way till giving-up before 2-out. With several race-fit and consistent rivals in the race, on reflection the current odds of just 6/1 are not generous enough to warrant a wager.

When Jason Maguire rides for Kim Bailey, take notice. He’s won 9 of 32 rides (28%) for Bailey this season, and 7 of those wins have come from just 20 hurdle races (35%). As such, his booking to ride MAX BYGRAVES in the 3:00 at Southwell is interesting. The downside is that MAX BYGRAVES is trying 3-mile for the first time (never run beyond 2m5f before) and the going is also on the soft side for the horse. Again, current odds of 11/2 are not generous to make this horse a selection, in fact at those odds I’d be more inclined to make him a place-lay and lay him at under 2.30 as, apart from the jockey booking, there is little to recommend the horse in this race.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.

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

Monday, 17 January 2011

What a day on Saturday!

What a day Saturday was!
The blog really hit the target with sole “win” selection BINOCULAR winning like a real good thing, romping home with the rescheduled Christmas Hurdle at Kempton. I advised taking the 11/4 available in the morning, and if you had hung-on you would have been able to obtain 3/1 at about midday. Then the money started to come in, and the selection started the 13/8 fav. The result was never in any doubt and BINOCULAR had the opposition struggling fully half a mile out. The advised 2pts win returned a profit of 5.50pts at 11/4.
Before that, blog selection ZANIR ran a cracker to be 4th at 16/1 in a hot handicap, having been advised at odds of 22/1 eachway in the morning. That advised wager returned a profit of 1.25pts (½pt @ 22/1, quarter-odds a place 1,2,3,4), and the horse looks primed for a big run at the Festival in March.
The King George did not produce a return from the eachway selection in the race PLANET OF SOUND. At one point the horse moved into 4th place with under a mile to run and I thought he’d stay on into a place, but not to be. That race saw the defending champion KAUTO STAR beaten into 3rd behind the Henderson pair of Long Run and Riverside Theatre.
I said in my Saturday blog before the race that I did not think that KAUTO STAR was an odds-on chance as so much was against it, and I really think the decisive factor was Ruby Walsh not being in the saddle (due to injury) and replaced by AP McCoy. Fine rider tho’ he is, McCoy is a “driver” who pushes his mounts into fences, whereas I reckon KAUTO STAR likes to be his own boss, setting his own rhythm. To me, he lost a lot of energy at his fences and it told in the final half-mile when he could not go on with the eventual winner. The return of Ruby Walsh could show that this was a “blip”, but racegoers have to be honest, the horse isn’t getting any younger and has now past his peak.
As for Long Run, I was fully against the horse before the race, as I did not think it would stay 3-mile in this company. Whether or not Kauto Star ran to form, Long Run stuffed the likes of Nacarat, Planet Of Sound, and Albertas Run in what looked a true run race. He was given an RPR rating of 180 for this, which initially I thought was a bit rich, but he is certainly worthy of a rating better than 170 based on this form. For me, the big surprise was the run of Riverside Theatre. He was held up for a long way and sent after the leaders from 3-out; for a first run over 3-mile, this run confirmed his stamina. My immediate reaction was to enquire for eachway odds about him for the Gold Cup, but he’s not entered – he’s in the Ryanair tho’.
My afternoon ended on a high when JAMES DE VASSY won the Lazarote Hurdle. The Coral Cup 3rd went into this lightly raced for a 6yo, but he loves these competitive handicaps as he was also 4th in the Greatwood Hurdle (behind Khyber Kim). I didn’t post him as a selection, but he was the only horse that I mentioned in the race.

I took a look at the antepost markets for the Festival on Saturday evening, in light of the results that afternoon. My aim was to put together some multiple bets, the focus being on the following races:-
Arkle / Champion Hurdle / Ryanair / Gold Cup.

Arkle: For me, there is only one horse in this with the form in the book, and what good form it is too! GHIZAO, currently at 6/1 looks head’n’shoulders better than anything we’ve seen in the 2-mile division.

Champion Hurdle: Despite the performance of Binocular, the proximity of Overturn dimmed the form for me. I know he won the Galway H’cap Hurdle (Grade A) with 11:8 in a canter, but he’s only got one way of running, all-out from the front. Henderson’s Eradicate (OR143) beat him at Haydock in the Swinton Hurdle last May and I’m sure he’d expect Binocular to easily beat Eradicate over 2-mile. As such, with Overturn’s trainer Don McCain firmly on the side of his other horse PEDDLERS CROSS, I’m supporting this unbeaten and as yet unfathomed horse as my Champion Hurdle selection at 6/1.

Gold Cup: This is a tricky market. I would not write off Kauto Star just yet, especially with Ruby Walsh back in the saddle but, having to rekindle his form in the Gold Cup, with Denman in opposition is not the easiest of tasks. Denman, in my opinion, ran a career best effort when 3rd in the Hennessey LTO. History will prove that was a superlative effort. But, he has already been shown not able to match IMPERIAL COMMANDER whose re-appearance was exceptional given that he was completely unextended and won as he liked. As such, I don’t give much weight to the proximity of Planet Of Sound in that race, even tho’ he was well beaten on Saturday behind Long Run. For me, the Gold Cup trip plays right into the hands of IMPERIAL COMMANDER and he’s my 3rd leg.

Ryanair: If you consider that it will be very difficult for Henderson and Waley-Cohen not to go for the Gold Cup in March now; and with Master Minded almost certain to contest the QMCC; POQUELIN at the head of the market looks in a very strong position. Tranquil Sea needs soft/heavy going to show his best, and he’s not as good as POQUELIN anyway. There is the possibility that J’VOLE will return to Cheltenham in March in top form, but that was a particularly good run for her and she always seems to find one a bit too good. As I wrote earlier, RIVERSIDE THEATRE is only entered for this race at the Festival and he’s 16/1 with Boylesports. I am doubling him up with POQUELIN for this as at those sort of odds, having 1st & 2nd will bring a decent payday.

Arkle: GHIZAO @ 6/1
Champion Hurdle: PEDDLERS CROSS @ 6/1
Ryanair: POQUELIN @ 9/2 and RIVERSIDE THEATRE @ 16/1
Gold Cup: IMPERIAL COMMANDER @ 7/2
That’s
9 x doubles @ ¼pt = 2¼pts
7 x trebles @ ¼pt = 1¾pts
2 x accumulators @ ½pt = 1pt
Total = 5pts staked

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Saturday, 15 January 2011

History in the making?

Today is the day that Kauto Star attempts to make racing history by winning the King George chase at Kempton for a remarkable 5th time, which is as much a training performance for Paul Nicholls as an equine performance for the horse.

I will not be backing the horse at today's odds tho' as for me he is not an odds-on chance, but I will not be laying him either. The reasons I consider Kauto Star not to be an odds-on chance are:-
jockey - I do not believe that AP McCoy's style of riding is suitable;
going - it is soft in places, and it will be the 3rd chase race run over the track today, it will be cutting up;
recent form - my opinion (which differs from that of Ruby Walsh) is that the run at Down Royal was disappointing;
age - time marches on and, sooner or later, age will start to tell.

I have previously advised that the eachway market is full of value and I'm on PLANET OF SOUND @ 20/1. You may even be tempted by the without the fav market, which has PLANET OF SOUND at 8/1 (5th odds) with Paddy Power. The horse could come 4th (with KS in the 1st-3) and you'd still collect more money that a straight win bet on Kauto Star (should he win of course).

My sole win bet today is on BINOCULAR @ 11/4. He has drifted from 2/1 earlier this week, but given the recent form of his trainer Nicky Henderson (3 wins from 3 runners y'day and 17 wins from 41 runners in past 14-days) I very much doubt that this horse will appear today unprepared to do his best. The winner of the Christmas Hurdle today (so long as it's Binocular or Kyber Kim) will immediately become the 3/1 fav for the Champion Hurdle, so it may be worth taking the odds for that race before this is run today.

In the handicap hardle at 1:20, ZANIR from my alert list runs. This is a perfect opportunity for the horse, a competitive handicap on a RH track. Claimer Ian Popham is worth every ounce of his 5lb claim and at odds of 22/1 (Bet365, but lots of 20's available), he is an eachway chance. The gamble on Ski Sunday has distorted the market somewhat for this, so take advantage of the place value available.

Finally, James De Vassy ran a cracker to be 3rd in the Coral Cup at the last Festival, and today's Lanzarote at 3:35 is the sort of race this lightly-raced 6yo will relish.

Selections:
Kempton 1:20, ZANIR, ½pt each way @ 22/1 (Bet365)
Kempton 2:25, BINOCULAR, 2pt win @ 11/4
Kempton 3:00, PLANET OF SOUND, ½pt each way @ 20/1
Total 3pts staked

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.

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

Friday, 14 January 2011

Antepost advice for the King George

Yesterday I wrote that HOBBS DREAM would take all the beating, and I was right. Unfortunately, I did not post it up as a selection! My advice was to see if you could get 7/2 or longer (it being 5/2 at the time of posting the blog). I noted that the odds on the horse drifted to 100/30 about 15 mins before the race, so if any of you readers took that then well done to you. Once Shannon’s Boy fell at the 5th – and he was the only realistic opposition to the horse – the rest was a mere formality and HOBBS DREAM won by 24-lengths having been clear before 2-out.

Today’s racing at Musselburgh and Huntingdon looks uninspiring, so I’m giving it a miss completely and looking ahead to Saturday’s tremendous cards at Kempton, Warwick and Wetherby.

The rescheduled King George takes place at Kempton and is the headline event on a 9-race card. Before that is the rescheduled Christmas Hurdle which sees the Champion Hurdle 1st & 2nd meet head-to-head for the first time since. I really cannot see Kyber Kim reversing places with Binocular, nor can I see Starluck holding off Binocular, now that the latter has the benefit of a seasonal debut. For me 2/1 Binocular looks fair value.

In the King George, there is no way I can oppose Kauto Star, but the race for 2nd place will be very interesting. Last year it was filled by Madison Du Berlais, but he seems to have lost the plot since then. I am convinced that Long Run does not stay 3-mile at this level, so I cannot have him. Ditto, Forpadydeplasterer, who has not won beyond 2m2f despite many efforts. I’m not sure what Riverside Theatre is doing in this race seeing as he looks potentially Henderson’s Ryanair entry – can’t have him. The one I like the look of is PLANET OF SOUND who outstayed Nacarat LTO behind Imperial Commander, and that looks the best form on offer here. Odds of 20/1 (Tote, Stan James) at quarter-odds a place 1-2-3 look very generous as, other than Kauto Star, the only other horse likely to beat him is The Nightingale, but that’s a big “if” and I’m not convinced about that one.

Selection:
ANTEPOST for the King George (15th January)
PLANET OF SOUND, ½pt each way @ 20/1 (Tote or Stan James)

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The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
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Thursday, 13 January 2011

FLAT OUT looks Arkle prospect

We did not do too well last Saturday (8th January) with the 3 selections given. Both Silver By Nature and Exmoor Ranger were beaten by the pace of the race (in my opinion), and Silver By Nature would have probably preferred softer going as well.
The other blog selection Free World blundered his way around and was always struggling. For a horse with plenty of talent, he is now proving frustrating. He heads for the Victor Chandler at Ascot on 22nd January but, in this sort of form, he has no chance in that. The only good thing is that he’s been dropped 3lb to 149 and you have to remember that just over 12 months ago he only failed by 1¼ lengths to give 2lb and a beating to French Opera who went on to only just fail to win the Johnny Henderson Chase at the Festival off OR154 (raised 4lbs to OR158 for that effort). He looks a handicap snip, but he seems to have “mental” problems.

I was pleased with another horse noted last Saturday - PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE. As I said, he is on a great rating of OR138, but the trip on Saturday was far too short for him and he should never have been the 3/1 fav for that race. As such, coming 3rd was a tremendous effort, and he is now primed for a big run, hopefully over 3-mile.

There was also a cracking run in Ireland from FLAT OUT. I have been a fan of this horse since I watched it win its debut hurdle last February. Always well regarded at home by Willie Mullins, this horse has never failed him on the track. It was, after all, a tremendous effort to run 5th in the Supreme Hurdle last March in only his 2nd hurdle race, with only Menorah, Get Me Out Of Here, Dunguib, and Oscar Whisky in front of him. On that form he’s worthy of a 20/1 quote for the Champion Hurdle! He’s quoted at 20/1 for the Arkle in March and, before that, he goes for the Irish equivalent at Leopardstown on the 23rd Jan. This bold front-runner will join GHIZAO at the head of the market for the Arkle should he win at Leopardstown, and as such he’s worth an eachway punt at those odds. I think it is also very relevant that FLAT OUT has not (in my knowledge) ever been longer than 40’s on the exchanges for the Arkle.

The final horse noted on Saturday’s blog was Midnight Haze and he was going like a good’un before a broken blood vessel did for his chances. Not a good sign this, and a long period of rest will be required.

Back on 15th September 2010, I wrote this on the blog about my winning selection MUSIC OF THE MOOR: “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. Due to go hurdling this winter, he looks a great prospect for the winter scene”. Well, I should have read my own notes as the horse made his hurdling debut last Saturday at Sandown on heavy going and, despite a last hurdle blunder, he cruised to a commanding victory at 8/1. I may not have given you a winner, but I hope you’ll forgive me.

Nothing takes my eye at either of today’s jump meetings at Catterick and Hereford, tho’ HOBBS DREAM will take all the beating in the 1:40 at Hereford. Sir Winston is as game as they come, and will be on the premises, but he’s very one-paced. Much will depend on the attitude of lightly raced 9yo Shannon’s Boy, as even his trainer was surprised by his win LTO. If he comes on for that run then he’s going to go close, but if he bounces? All-in-all, 5/2 about HOBBS DREAM isn’t value, but if you can get 7/2 or longer grab it.

Selection:
ANTEPOST for the Arkle
FLAT OUT, ½pt each way @ 20/1 (Hills or Chandlers)

Lastly, I learned yesterday that BURTON PORT is out for the rest of the season, so the ½pt each way on him for the Gold Cup has been lost.

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The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
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Saturday, 8 January 2011

Flat Out to stake novice chase claims

Great days racing, lots to get thru’, so here goes.

Chepstow:
I made a case for both SILVER BY NATURE and EXMOOR RANGER yesterday and, given the soft going today, I am not going to desert them. They should both run cracking races and currently they are both available at 16/1 for the Welsh National at 1:45.

For the 2:20, I think PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE is on a great rating of OR138, but this trip is probably too short for him and this may be a confidence building race. Even so, I would expect a big run.

Sandown:
The 32Red chase (class 2) at 2:05 is another great handicap, and I am not deserting previous blog winner MIDNIGHT HAZE, but current odds are now just 7/1 and the value has gone.

From the Horse Alert list comes FREE WORLD in the 3:15 and I think he will really come good today on this going and over this trip.

Selections:
Chepstow 1:45, SILVER BY NATURE, ½pt ew @ 16/1
Chepstow 1:45, EXMOOR RANGER, ½pt ew @ 16/1
Sandown 3:15, FREE WORLD, ½pt ew @ 9/1
Total = 3pts staked

At Punchestown, expect FLAT OUT to win his debut novice chase at 11:45. He could be very, very good as a novice chaser.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.

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

Friday, 7 January 2011

Welsh National thoughts

There are a couple of jump meetings at Bangor and Fontwell.

The prospect of very heavy going at Bangor does not fill me with glee, so I’m not assessing the racing there. What is interesting tho’ is that Nicky Henderson has sent a good number of representatives and his stable jockey Barry Geraghty. Henderson is definitely “old school”, and he knows that to get the best performances at the Festival in March – just over 2 months away now – horses need a run between the 1st Jan and 14th Feb to be at their peak come the test in March.

At Fontwell, it is also very soft (heavy in places) going, and with heavy rain forecast this morning, there is another inspection there at 11am this morning. As such, I am going to give that meeting a miss as well.

If racing does go ahead, it will be interesting to see how Quantitativeeasing gets on for Nicky Henderson in the novice chase. Only 4 go to post for that, including that old rogue that is Straw Bear, still a novice chaser at 10yo. Fontwell is Gifford’s home track, and Straw Bear is having his 1st run in over a year (last couple were over hurdles). I’ve a feeling in my bones that these are the sort of conditions that could help Straw Bear break his chasing “duck”.
I was also going to make a selection in the 3m2f handicap chase (class 4) at 2:30. One from the horse alert list entered – ABSOLUTE SHAMBLES. Last time he ran it was on unsuitable good-to-firm going, but the soft/heavy going will be more suitable for him today. Admittedly, he is a course winner at Fontwell on good-to-firm going, but he left that form well behind when winning over 3-mile at Huntingdon on good-to-soft in December 2009. That was a useful field for the grade that he beat that day, and ABSOLUTE SHAMBLES stayed on strong to take the race. Being a half-brother to Longshanks (who was 7th in the National won by Silver Birch) this 3m2f trip should not trouble him. He also seems fairly treated on OR92, as his full sister Iron Maid won off OR115 as a hurdler, and Longshanks won off OR130 (on heavy) as a chaser, so worsening ground should also not be a negative factor. So, he has the potential to leave this rating far behind, the only spanner in the works being that he’s had a few training problems this season (hence not having run since September) and trainer Chris Gordon thinks he may benefit from the run.

So, no selections today.

I wrote earlier in the week about Binocular’s chances in the Champion Hurdle. Yesterday, his trainer Nicky Henderson stated the horse would run another couple of times before defending his crown – and that means that (unlike some other intended runners) he will be primed on the race-track rather than on the gallops. No current trainer has sent out more Festival winners than Nicky Henderson, and I think he knows what he is doing. As I wrote on Wednesday; do not ignore Binocular – he is now trading at longer odds than he did after winning the last renewal and yet he’s done nothing wrong in the meantime. He’s been there, done it and has the T-shirt; he demands respect.

The rescheduled Welsh National takes place at Chepstow tomorrow (Saturday) and the prospect of heavy rain today and tomorrow mean that (should the race go ahead) it will be an extreme stamina test, and not one for the faint-hearted. Last year’s runner-up SILVER BY NATURE did not run well at all LTO in the Hennessey. A mistake at the 1st and again at the 4th meant he was toiling at the rear early-on and this “slugger” needs heavy going and an extreme stamina test to slow the pace down so that he can come into his own once they’ve run 20f+. Conditions will be near perfect for him at Chepstow, but having to carry 11st12lb wont. They say weight does not stop a good horse and SILVER BY NATURE is one of the very few horses to beat the top-class Our Vic on soft/heavy going. He has to be an each-way selection. Venetia Williams Summery Justice is also very interesting having had just 3 chase runs (won twice), but he’s too short in the betting at 10/1 for me. Another horse that always runs a genuine race and should really have won more often is EXMOOR RANGER. I reckon he’d have gone close in the William Hill Handicap at the Festival last March but for being brought-down early. At 20/1 and with a respectable 11st 1lb to carry, this strong traveller will give you a good run for your money. With going this testing, it will be very difficult to get back into the race from off the pace – expect many to be pulled-up after halfway – and those racing “in the van” may hold the advantage.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.
The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
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Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Alert list results updated

No selections for today’s racing at Southwell over the jumps.

I’ve updated the Horse Alert results list and it has been a harrowing job. From the 24 runs to date by horses on the list, only 2 have been winning efforts. It has made me realise that preparing lists of horses to follow is not just a difficult exercise to undertake, but perhaps a worthless exercise altogether. There are a couple of areas of solace: some horses have yet to run; and some have been running in races in which they are totally outclassed. Hopefully, there will be a few winners from the list between now and Grand National day in April.

I am far more happy with my Antepost Selections.
I fully expect Kauto Star to win the re-scheduled King George at Kempton on 15th January, and that will surely affect the odds on Imperial Commander for the Gold Cup. If there is any relaxation in his current odds of 9/2 then grab it with both hands. If Kauto Star and Imperial Commander met in March without the presence of Denman in the same race, then it would be tricky splitting them. But Kauto Star does not seem to enjoy racing against his stable companion Denman. It upsets his jumping as he is unable to dictate the rhythm of the race while Denman “tanks” along in front. It will require a rethink on race tactics by Ruby Walsh on how to cope with Denman – and in the meantime, that plays into the hands of Imperial Commander. I was sincerely hoping that a new challenger would appear from the ranks of younger horses but, as yet, we haven’t seen one.
I am also happy with Peddlers Cross in the Champion Hurdle, and I will have another nibble at him before his next race. Do not ignore Binocular – he is now trading at longer odds than he did after winning the last renewal and yet he’s done nothing wrong in the meantime. He’s been there, done it and has the T-shirt; he demands respect.
As for the Arkle, time is running-out for realistic challengers to Ghizao. I can see him starting the Arkle at under 2/1, such is the superiority of form to others in the race. He is not a talking horse and is, in my opinion, vastly under-rated by the market.

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

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

GHIZAO looking good for the Arkle

I’ve been away from blogging the best part of 3 weeks due to the inclement weather prior to Christmas, and spending some quality time with family over the holiday period.

There has been some good racing since the last blog – even if there has been little of it to go around – and the two feature races of the holiday period; that is the King George and the Welsh National, are yet to be run on their rearranged dates.
I left you with a winner in Aztec Treasure and for December the blog selections broke-even (3 selections, with 1 winner @ 3/1).

So far, the following antepost advices have been provided on the blog:-
IMPERIAL COMMANDER, 2pts win @ 9/2 for the Gold Cup (on 22/11 and again on 28/11)
DENMAN, 1pt eachway @ 8/1 for the Gold Cup (on 28/11)
BURTON PORT, ½pt eachway @ 20/1 for the Gold Cup (on 28/11)
PEDDLERS CROSS, 1pt eachway @ 14/1 for the Champion Hurdle (on 27/11)
GHIZAO, 1pt eachway @ 12/1 for the Arkle (on 23/11)
GAUVAIN , ½pt eachway @ 25/1 for the QM Champion Chase (on 15/11)
So, there’s 10pts staked already.

At Leopardstown on 28th December there was the grade 1, Lexus Chase. Won by Pandorama (one of my bankers in the my TTTF entries) this was a solid performance, with the places filled by the same horses as in 2009 (Money Trix and Joncol). They will all now go on to contest the Hennessey where Pandorama will be hard to beat if showing natural progression. However, his liking for soft going is likely to prevent him contesting the Gold Cup.
On 30th December, Big Zeb confirmed his superiority to Golden Silver over 2-mile with Captain Cee Bee toiling behind. That’s the end of it for Captain Cee Bee as far as I am concerned as he went into the race with 3 wins from 4 runs on soft/heavy, so claims that he hated the heavy going were a straw clutching exercise. With BIG ZEB at 7/2 and Master Minded at 7/4 for the QM Champion Chase, the value has to lie with BIG ZEB who was only beaten a head by Master Minded on levels at Punchestown in April 2009. I can see Master Minded starting at slight odds-on for the QM Champion Chase on the day, and so we could see 4/1 or longer for BIG ZEB then. The next race on that card was the grade 1 hurdle won by Hurricane Fly. This display did not impress me at all and merely confirmed that the “Fly” is about 3lb better than Solwhit who I rate a solid 158 horse. Corals are best-priced at 9/2, but I’m not tempted as Hurricane Fly needs to find another 7lb+. The presence of Hurricane Fly at the head of the market has pushed PEDDLERS CROSS out half-a-point to 13/2 (he’s just 9/2 with Corals) and I’m tempted to have another 1pt win on PEDDLERS CROSS for the Champion Hurdle at those odds, but I’ll hang fire just yet.
After winning the Champion Hurdle last March, BINOCULAR was 4/1 to repeat in 2011. He is now 5/1 in some places (Bet365 and Stan James) and I expect Nicky Henderson to get a win out of him NTO before attempting to hold on to his crown. Remember, 15 of the last 18 Champion Hurdle winners won their previous race; the last 16 winners all ran in the calendar year the race was run; and 8 of the last 11 winners have been aged 7 or older (4 being 7yo’s).
I’ve already written that POQUELIN is my idea of the winner of the Ryanair, and he’s been cut by most firms from 6/1 to 5’s. I’m starting to formulate some Festival multiples, and POQUELIN is featuring highly as “banker” material.
The performance of the holiday was GHIZAO winning at Newbury while giving 10lb to Captain Chris. This was a race won previously by Paul Nicholls with the likes of Big Bucks and Kauto Star. I said after his win at Cheltenham in November that he was a 160+ horse, and he confirmed it here.
Current odds of 6/1 look generous and, as he goes straight to the Festival, I’m recommending another 1pt win at those odds.
Do not ignore Captain Chris; he had a wind operation prior to this race and may have lacked some fitness.

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