Welcome to the World of Horseracing

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.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Time to call the tune

The 478th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.

No selections yesterday, but a couple of the greyhounds that I put up as potential Greyhound Derby winners came home in good style last night on the 1st round of heats.

The final Saturday of the 2011-12 Jump Season and the big finale is the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown at 3:10. The going is soft, good-to-soft in places, and that won’t be testing enough (in my opinion) for Le Beau Bai. I’m going to stick my neck out and suggest a horse that has run 2nd in 6 of his 10 chases to date – ALDERTUNE. He’s a very safe jumper of a fence, and he handles Sandown well and carried 11st 12lb here when going down by just a neck over 3-mile 110 yards in February; so today with just 10st 1lb to carry he’ll think it is his birthday. He also ran well when being beaten by the well-handicapped Zarrafakt at Wincanton in January. He travelled like the winner 3-out that day, but had no chance with Zarrafakt who was raised 12lb for that win. We also know he will stay this trip based on his close-up 4th to Giles Cross in the Southern National at Fontwell last November. Giles Cross is now rated 12lb higher, Rey Nacarado in 2nd won NTO and is now 6lb higher, and Fortification has also won since and is also 6lb higher. That looks top-notch form. ALDERTUNE has only ever won on soft going, and he’s run very well on good-to-soft. The more I look at his form, the more I think he’s got a much better than 16/1 chance for this race off just 10st 1lb. He’ll have a good pace today in these testing conditions and the only reason I won’t make him a win selection is that he does seem to shirk a battle, so he may need to hold a clear advantage at the final fence to hold on in the run-in.

Selection: Sandown 3:10, ALDERTUNE, ½pt eachway @ 16/1 (Bet365, ¼ odds 5 places, BOG)
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. Remember! Betting on horseracing should be a pleasurable experience - never bet more than you can afford to lose.
Thanks from Wayward Lad.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Greyhound Derby starts tonight

The 477th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.
Sometimes, I wonder just what attracts people to read my blog. The "comment" left on my blog yesterday is an example of the cryptic variety. If anyone can provide an interpretation (as I cannot fathom it) then I'd be interested to know where the contributor is coming from – or has he (or she) picked-up on something that I don't know about?
Heavy ground at all yesterday's turf meetings played havoc with the in-running markets, which was great for speculators. I honestly thought MOLESKIN had an odds-on chance when he was 1 of only 4 starters in the 2:30 at Perth, and so I took 7/4 before the off (he started the 5/4 fav). I should have taken my profit when he went under 1.50 in-running after sole Witness fell at the 12th, but I didn't. Not long after, the lack of a recent run combined with the heavy going told on his stamina and he was struggling from 4-out. Pretty much the same story with my other selection KNOCKANDO who  led to halfway, and then dropped-out quickly before pulling-up. Racing at Beverley was abandoned.
As such, with heavy going at all today's race meetings, I'm giving the horseracing a miss.

Tonight at Wimbledon dog track, the 1st round of the Greyhound Derby takes place (there are heats tonight and tomorrow). This really could be the final Greyhound Derby at Wimbledon as the track has gone seriously downhill in recent years from a complete lack of investment and forward planning by the owners. I'll not criticise the management of the track itself, as they are hard-working individuals who are trying to do their best with the little resources available. That said, the dogs lining up for the competition look a really decent bunch, and I've already made some notes of those I think will take a strong interest.

JAZZ APOLLO ( born Mar 2009) – Heat 2 – won Open Race (OR) over 515m at Hove on 29Mar in 29.57 (that's very, very quick).
BUBBLY PHEONIX (Apr10) – Heat 2 – ran solo trial in 28.33 on 18Apr, very young dog.
TAYLORS SKY (Mar09) – Heat 7 – won W'don OR in 28.55 on 07Apr and solo trial in 28.40 on 18Apr (Derby Fav @ 13/2).
JAYTEE PEDRO (Mar10) – Heat 7 – won W'don OR in 28.49 on 28Feb, young dog with improvement potential.
BOWTIME SYKES (Mar10) – Heat 13 – won 2-dog trial in 28.59 on 20Apr, wide runner, usually very slow away – finishes like a train.
RAZLDAZL JAYFKAY (Nov08) – Heat 11 – won W'don OR in 28.20 on 31Mar, seeded wide, breaks in under 4.80.
DROOPYS LORENZO (Feb10) – Heat 13 – won W'don OR in 28.33 on 07Apr, won 2 recent OR's at Hove in 29.70 & 29.68 (in latter beat Jazz Apollo by 1¼ lengths).
JAYTEE APACHE (Apr10) – Heat 15 – ran 28.51 in 2-dog trial on 18Apr, very young dog.
RIO TORINO (Apri10) – Heat 15 – won W'don OR in 28.63 on 18Apr, very young dog.
BOHER PADDY (Oct08) – Heat 20 – won W'don OR in 28.43 on 18Apr.

My selection is DROOPYS LORENZO who is 50/1 for the competition with Boylesports (40/1 elsewhere). If you only watch the races on Sky TV (cough, spit) then you'll enjoy it for sure; but - if you can – go to the track.

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.
Remember!  Betting on horseracing should be a pleasurable experience - never bet more than you can afford to lose.
Thanks from Wayward Lad



Thursday, 26 April 2012

Summery Justice lays down the law

The 476th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.
What a good ride Grand National winning jockey Liam Treadwell gave SUMMERY JUSTICE at Perth yesterday. The lad has not had a great time of it since moving-on from Venetia Williams yard, and this was only his 8th winner of this season. Given his ability, he should be better served in my opinion. As for SUMMERY JUSTICE, if you were on at the morning odds of 6/1 then well done you. He had to struggle a bit on the run-in to hold on but that was probably due to the going which was heavy in places – in fact, it was waterlogged in parts of the course judging by the splashes caused by the horses. He has now won 4 of his 8 starts when the going has the word "soft" in it (the official going was "soft, heavy in places"), and with only 10 races under rules this 8yo will be up to winning again if this weather keeps up (what happened to the hose-pipe ban?). Of course, not being a firm selection this winner won't count for my profit margin on the blog, but regular readers will know that there is much to be gained by visiting regularly and following the narrative.

The continuing wet weather will seriously affect racing today, so watch for non-runners and going changes from soft to heavy. I'm looking at Perth again and I like the look of MOLESKIN in the 2:30 there, which is a 3-mile, class 3 h'cap chase. Unfortunately, Aikman is a non-runner which leaves just 5 going to post, but so long as MOLESKIN does race too freely in front early-on (when he will be matched for strides with Railway Dillon) then he should have no trouble taking this as he stays the trip well, and he's won on soft going. The same cannot be said for the other 4 in the race, so current odds of 9/4 look good – if you can get on, take the 3/1 with Skybet, but they may only let you have a "fiver".

I'll be having a "back-to-lay" wager in the 3:00 at Perth on KNOCKANDO. Currently at 12/1, I'd be very surprised if this prominent runner who stays 3-mile well does not trade at less than 6.00 in-running  and should trade at under 4.00.

At Beverley, I'm hoping that trainer E W Tuer has EASY TERMS fit and ready to race for the 3:10, which is a class 4 h'cap over 1m4f. Currently 12/1, if the mare is in the form of last season then she will be hard to keep out of the places and this looks a very weak class 4 h'cap on the formbook.  This will probably be a "split" wager for me; with 4.00+ available "place-only" on the exchanges , I'll have £13 on at those odds and the balance of my £40 stake (ie. £27) on at 12/1 with one of the bookmakers.

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.
Remember!  Betting on horseracing should be a pleasurable experience - never bet more than you can afford to lose.
Thanks from Wayward Lad.



Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Wet, wet, wet

The 475th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.

I was right on the button with my assessment of the 3:20 at Wolverhampton yesterday – which was the only race I looked at. Sure, I didn't find the winner, but then I did not put-up a selection in the race. My advised play was a back-to-lay on ALL RIGHT NOW who I expected to lead into the final furlong, and that he did. I was able to obtain 10.4 on average on the exchanges (when I wrote my blog, he was at odds of 9/1) and, as I expected, he started at the shorter SP of 13/2. I laid-off at 4.80 in-running to secure my stake, and at 4.10 to take a profit.

We have plenty of racing today, but the weather throughout the UK and Ireland is wet, wet, wet. Much of today's focus will be on Punchestown where the Grade 1 chase over 3m1f at 5:30 which brings together a mixed bunch of chasers. Unusually, I agree with the write-up for the race provided by Tom Segal (Pricewise) in today's RP.  If the going were better (ie. no worse than good-to-soft) then I'd be lumping on Captain Chris who – despite not winning yet this season – has run 3 very decent races from 4 starts. His 3rd in the KGV on Boxing Day demonstrates that he's capable of staying 3-mile in top company and he was staying-on well in the Ryanair over 2m5f at the Cheltenham Festival. This is his trip and with his trainer Phil Hobbs conjuring-up one of the training feats of the decade in producing SNAP TIE to win off a 992 day break yesterday at Punchestown, then we can be sure Captain Chris will come into the race fit to win. But the problem is the soft/heavy going and odds of just 4/1 are not tempting enough. What must be taken into account is that this is a weak Grade 1 chase over the trip, and therefore the going could bring one of the outsiders into contention. One with winning form on heavy and with top-class form in the book is Bostons Angel, winner of the RSA at the Cheltenham Festival in 2011. Yes, his form this season has been near useless, but this slower ground and the trip should allow him to get into a rhythm and, at odds of 25/1, he's a small eachway wager.

We have the Derby Trial meeting at Epsom today, but the going is soft and I expect it to get softer. I will avoid this meeting like the plague and handling Epsom even in perfect conditions is too much for some horses. It looks like the jump meeting at Hereford is unlikely to go ahead this evening.  Catterick's meeting looks very low grade stuff, and so that just leaves Perth.

The class 3, 3-mile handicap chase at 4:05 looks  very interesting, and SUMMERY JUSTICE looks capable of taking this race. He's the only runner at Perth for Venetia Williams, and makes the long journey from Herefordshire for this. The going and trip are perfect for him, and he should be fit to burst having been prepared for a run at the Cheltenham Festival last month (was well fancied for the Kim Muir Chase).

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.
Remember!  Betting on horseracing should be a pleasurable experience - never bet more than you can afford to lose.
Thanks from Wayward Lad.



Tuesday, 24 April 2012

There she stood, in the street...

The 474th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.

Yesterday's racing worked well for me as I was able to make a significant margin when trading BEAU DANDY in the 3m1f, class 5 handicap chase at Hexham. Unfortunately for him, the going was a lot worse than expected and he was unable to last out the trip well enough to win but, having placed my wager at 7.40, there was ample opportunity to trade out at a profit during the race and that's what I did at 3.70. That wasn't the case with COOLMINX at Pontefract (and not Catterick as I wrote in yesterday's blog – a mental aberration there) and, despite placing my wager at 19.50, due to the worsening ground I chickened-out and traded-out at 17.0 before the off. As things happened, the field split and it was the low numbers that held a clear advantage, tho' COOLMINX finished the clear 2nd of those who raced with the stands side (high drawn) group.

The is virtually nothing of interest for me in racing today. I have never been a particular fan of the Punchestown Festival as – coming after both Cheltenham and Aintree – there is a high degree of possibility that horses that contested those earlier festivals  will (by now) be "over-the-top".

The only race I've looked at today is – by chance – on the all-weather at Wolverhampton. It is the 3:20 over 7f & 32 yards, and the one I'm looking at is ALL RIGHT NOW drawn 6 of the 12 runners. Generally a prominent runner, the gelding has been running well recently before being caught in the closing stages. Today, there are few in this who will want to force the pace, so ALL RIGHT NOW should lead into the final furlong. At that point, the hold-up horses will be making their move and I can foresee a lot of traffic problems which could play to the advantage of ALL RIGHT NOW.

I'm not an aficionado of all-weather racing, so I'm not making ALL RIGHT NOW a selection despite odds of 9/1 being generally available. I'm expecting an SP of less than 6/1, so I'll be trading on ALL RIGHT NOW as a back-to-lay.

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.
Remember!  Betting on horseracing should be a pleasurable experience - never bet more than you can afford to lose.
Thanks from Wayward Lad.



Monday, 23 April 2012

False optimism

The 473rd edition of the Wayward Lad blog.

I've been a bit lax with blog updates recently, but I'll be endeavouring to make-up for the absences in the next few weeks.

Reading today's Racing Post this morning on the train, there were a couple of items that made me think, the first being the quote from Kieran Burke – trainer of Hunt Ball – was that he thought his much-improved novice chaser was still well-handicapped on OR157. It was a great debut in graded company at Aintree recently and, over 3-mile, Hunt Ball is very much unexposed, but IMO a rating of OR157 isn't far removed from where I have him and I'd be surprised if he can win a race like the Paddy Power Handicap next autumn 1st-time-out for the season.

That made me think about the top staying performance of the jumps season. Unlike other ratings services, I am not averse to returning to my ratings and re-evaluating in the light of subsequent form. For instance, I have returned to the Hennessey winning performance of Diamond Harry of 2010 and revised that twice since my initial assessment – both revisions have been significant reductions. The performance of Long Run in the Gold Cup has, for me, put a doubt over the ratings I gave him when meeting – and being beaten by – Kauto Star in the Betfair Chase and KGV this season. Long Run found absolutely 'zip' after the final fence in the Gold Cup and yet all the "experts" had been saying since the Boxing Day race that stamina was this horses trump card. I rated Synchronised at 168 when winning the Gold Cup and I wrote on my blog that there must be some trainers who would be kicking themselves for not trying their good staying chasers against the top-3 of Kauto Star, Denman and Long Run. I did not think that Paul Nicholls would probably be the trainer who was in that group – as his NEPTUNE COLLONGES put up possibly the highest rated staying chase performance of the season when winning the Grand National with 11st 6lb. I rated that performance at 169, and tho' short of what he was capable of at his peak, it would surely have been good enough to have seen him upsides Synchronised as they passed the post had he taken part in the Gold Cup last month.

It's a typical Monday's racing today, but we have an interesting class 2, 6-furlong handicap at Catterick at 3:15. With 17 runners, I'm sure the draw will have a significant effect on the final placings, but reading the Racing Post I'm no clearer as to whether high or low numbers will benefit. "Top Draw" favours the high numbers, but the write-up for the race suggests low numbers. I'm with "Top Draw" and I'm hoping that the mare COOLMINX (drawn 13) who tends to race prominently will be fit enough for this seasonal debut. There is an interesting meeting at Hexham over the jumps, and the 3m1f, class 5 handicap chase at 3:00 could go to BEAU DANDY. He's a soft ground winner and the testing heavy going should be in his favour. Not a race for the faint-hearted this, and there may not be many finishers. However, most of these are well-exposed low grade handicappers but, with only 5 chase runs (and just 7 races under rules), the 7yo BEAU DANDY does at least have the potential to improve on what he's shown to date.  

No firm selections for the blog today, and I'll be playing both of these on the exchanges "back-to-lay".

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.
Remember!  Betting on horseracing should be a pleasurable experience - never bet more than you can afford to lose.
Thanks from Wayward Lad.



Friday, 20 April 2012

RIP Great Endeavour

The 472nd edition of the Wayward Lad blog.

No blog yesterday as I had a particularly busy day at the office. It's a long day I'm putting in: up at 5:45 and leaving for the train station at 6:20 for the 7:00am train from Haywards Heath into London Bridge; then a half-hour journey via the Jubilee Line and the DLR to arrive at my office in East London at about 8:25am. The train journey at least gives me some time to review the horseracing, but that's about it.

Today, there are meetings at Ayr and Fontwell over the jumps, and at Newbury and Bath on the flat. There is nothing at Newbury that captures my interest as 2yo and 3yo races at this time of year are almost a lottery – the formbook can be almost thrown away. I've never been a fan of Bath (except for focusing on course specialists) and the meeting is an early evening one, so I may take a look at that this afternoon. The Fontwell meeting has an interesting handicap chase at 2:30 with an old friend of mine, Bishophill Jack, running. If "Jack" can re-produce his Boxing Day form when winning at Huntingdon then he'd be strongly supported today but, given his last couple of runs, that's unlikely. So, the 7yo BALLYVONEEN trained by Neil King who won well at Plumpton LTO, and whose form has been on an upward curve since Boxing Day, looks the most likely winner of this

The Ayr meeting has a couple of interesting races worth looking at, especially the 4:00 which is a Class 2 handicap chase over 2m4f. Topweight Divers is being well-supported in this race following his decent run LTO at the Cheltenham Festival, but I like the look of TORPHICHEN in this race. He has been lightly tried over fences since coming over from Ireland and his recent run over this trip (he has mainly raced over 2m – 2m2f) at Haydock suggest that he's unexposed. As such, odds of 6/1 look more than fair as I'd have him at under 4/1 for this.

The Grand National still seems to be commanding a presence on the twitter-sphere, but the tragic accident that befell the exciting handicap chaser GREAT ENDEAVOUR yesterday – while in a field with just one other horse having been "put-to-grass for the summer – demonstrates that accidents can and do happen in the most unlikely circumstances (to those ill-informed about the management of horses). Horses are not born to be looked at, they are bred to run and the "fight or flight" survival mechanism in their heads makes them jittery and prone to unexplainable behaviour through which they can (and do) suffer injuries which render them helpless. Thankfully, the media circus has moved onto this weekend's Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix and the human rights issues there which, to be fair, have a far greater importance than the Grand National in the greater scheme of things.

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.
Remember!  Betting on horseracing should be a pleasurable experience - never bet more than you can afford to lose.
Thanks from Wayward Lad.



Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Taking a back seat

The 471st edition of the Wayward Lad blog.

I'm going to take a back seat from making horseracing selections for the next few days as (probably due to the upset in my personal life over the past couple of weeks) I am just not making the right decisions when it comes to selecting horses for wagering purposes – and that is expensive. Yesterday, after a couple of ill-prepared trades on the exchanges, I managed more by luck than judgement to still be in a break-even position on the day, and then I made a catastrophic wager. It was stupid of me, but I was trying to find an easy route to a profit from which I could build-on today. What was even more daft of me was that there were a couple of horses running yesterday that I've written positive words about – and they won (ie Imperial Circus and Sea Saffron).

We have some interesting horseracing over the next few days, especially on the Flat. The Craven Meeting at Newmarket isn't one of my favourites from a wagering point of view, but it is very worthwhile to watch and make notes for the future. Similarly, the Newbury meeting at the weekend is a meeting to have the notebook handy.

There is a great column written by Simon Holt in today's Weekender and it repeats much of what I wrote on my blog yesterday (are you a reader Simon?). I was not aware of it, but Simon writes that at Lingfield on Saturday there were ex-racehorses available for inspection by the public, and there were horseracing "ambassadors" answering the public's questions and helping those who want to know, learn more about the intricacies of the sport. Simon Holt is not wrong in saying this sort of positive response is what horseracing needs more of. Do not underestimate the power of public opinion when nearly 11 million people watched the Grand National on the BBC last Saturday (which is 2 million more people than the audience for the FA Cup Final last May). Compare that with the number of complaints about the race registered by the BBC - which will probably total under 500.

I am aware that the RSPCA are expecting an immediate reaction from horseracing with regards to the Grand National, and there are some who think that horseracing should be running-scared from a body like the RSPCA. I'm not one of that group as I'd like to see the RSPCA challenged as to where their priorities lie.  For instance, do they support Animal Aid and other extremist groups? What are the aims of the RSPCA in these modern times as it appears (to me) that it has moved away from its original premise. It should be taken into account by everyone that there is no place for a working horse in the modern world – horses exist solely for the entertainment of people and so, if horseracing is cruel then so is every other form of owning and keeping horses today. Does the RSPCA only want to see horses kept in a zoo (there are no truly wild horses in Europe today)?

Let's work together to promote all that is good about horseracing.

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.
Remember!  Betting on horseracing should be a pleasurable experience - never bet more than you can afford to lose.
Thanks from Wayward Lad.



Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Grand National 2012 - a look back

The 470th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.

There has been plenty of reaction to this year's Grand National and, as most who have an interest in horseracing would expect, not much of it has been good. It has come to the time when those who are involved in the sport at any level – be it owner, trainer, jockey, stable-lad or lass, farrier, vet, gambler or even the once a year punter – either gets behind the sport or accepts that horseracing in all its forms will come to an end sooner rather than later.

I'll make no bones about it, I cannot tell the difference between a horse jumping Bechers Brook and a show-jumper taking part in the "Puissance" high jump competition when horses are asked to jump a wooden wall set at a minimum height of 5ft 7in and the current record (set in 1991) is 7ft 10in. Remember, Bechers Brook on the take-off side is just 4ft 10in high and the "drop" on the landing side is 5ft 8in. Come the Olympics this summer in London, how many will be protesting about the show-jumping and 3-day event involving horses? Flat racing is also in grave danger of being abolished along with jump racing. There were 3 horses euthanized after breaking limbs at Meydan in the same race last week, a horse broke a limb and was euthanized at Royal Ascot last summer, and the last time I saw a statistical record on horse injuries in racing it was evident that far more horses suffer injury racing on the flat that they do over jumps.

What is the answer?  I suppose we could sacrifice the Grand National as a loss leader but, realistically, we all know that it would not end there. We basically need to galvanise support for racing and demonstrate how much it contributes to the economy and to the British way of life as a whole.

I would like to see horseracing embark on a popularity campaign and bring more people into contact with the horses themselves. Every Saturday meeting should have a few retired horses available for the public to get close to. Ambassadors for the sport should be freely available at every Saturday meeting to answer the public's questions and concerns. The BHA need to become more transparent, more approachable and they need to distance themselves away from the hunting and shooting fraternity. In fact, I'd like to see a couple of positions on the BHA board voted in by those in the industry every couple of years.

Whatever happens, now is a time for all those who love horseracing to get behind the sport and make their feelings known. Nearly 11 million people watched the Grand National on the BBC last Saturday which is 2 million more people than the audience for the FA Cup Final last May. What did those 11 million watch the race for?  

We are at a major crossroads as the financial model currently being used for horseracing does not work well enough to sustain the sport in the UK. Animal rights extremists (and that's what they are, extremists who want everyone to be vegetarian and to outlaw even pet ownership) are getting far too much media exposure for the views they represent, which are not reflected by the mass majority of the British public.

Let's work together to promote all that is good about horseracing.

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.
Remember!  Betting on horseracing should be a pleasurable experience - never bet more than you can afford to lose.
Thanks from Wayward Lad.



Saturday, 14 April 2012

Grand National 2012

The 469th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.

Today we have the Grand National - the greatest horse race in the World - being run at Aintree, a track that is just a few miles from where I grew up. Last year I gave 3 horses for the race on my blog and included the winner BALLABRIGGS. By comparison, none (not one) of the Racing Post tipsters (of which there are many) named the winner despite each putting-up 4 horses as a shortlist.

But first, the Aintree Hurdle over 2m4f at 2:50 and if anything beats ROCK ON RUBY in this race then it is seriously a good hurdler. I was on Zarkandar in the Champion Hurdle and he was staying-on that day, but Aintree is a speed track and if Zarkandar was caught for pace at Cheltenham he’ll really struggle to stay in contention here. Do not underestimate Thousand Stars who was 2nd in this race last season beaten just a ¼-length. I’m tempted to do a forecast; Rock On Ruby to beat Thousand Stars.

For the Grand National, earlier this week, I suggested WEST END ROCKER, PLANET OF SOUND, ACCORDING TO PETE and MIDNIGHT HAZE. The more I look at PLANET OF SOUND, the more I like him and he should be the best of those carrying 11st+. The drying ground (it is now officially “good”) will help him, but it will hinder WEST END ROCKER who would prefer it to be softer (his last 2 wins have been on heavy going). Similarly, ACCORDING TO PETE has never won a chase on ground faster the good-to-soft. There is a lot of pace in this field with nearly 30 of the 40 runners classed as “prominent” runners in the Weekender assessment. This means that it will be unlikely that anything will come from off the pace and win, unless they go too fast on the 1st circuit and the pace collapses in the 2nd circuit – as happened when MON MOME won at 100/1. Killyglen was up with the pace till falling 4-out last year, and that was because he was tired. Prior to his LTO win over 3m2f on soft, his form beyond 3-miles was F/6th/PU/2nd/ PU/PU which suggests in a true run race he won’t stay this trip. I personally think it is very hard for a horse aged 11yo or older to win this race, and so I’m not considering anything in this category, including last year’s winner BALLABRIGGS who is an 11yo. However, I expect STATE OF PLAY to be in the 1st-6 home (he’s run 4th / 3rd / 4th in the last 3 Nationals) and at 50/1 with Bet Victor who are paying to 6 places, he’s worth a ew “fun” punt. Another that I really like is MIDNIGHT HAZE. He may have done all his winning going right-handed, but Aintree is the longest circuit in the country and they race mainly in a straight-line. If he jumps Bechers without mishap on the 1st circuit then he could be in for a big race as he’s won 3 of his 6 races at trips beyond 3-mile, he’s a prominent runner, and Kim Bailey also trained the winner of the race in 1990 (Mr Frisk who still holds the course record time)

Onto my selections. For me PLANET OF SOUND – even tho’ he’s carrying 11st 5lb – at 33/1 (Bet365 & Stan James who go 5 places eachway) is great value. And - at 125/1 with Bet365 – I cannot ignore MIDNIGHT HAZE. Generally, the winner goes off at odds under 20/1 and from those only WEST END ROCKER at 16/1 and SYNCRONISED at 9/1 look capable of winning the race. At 9/1, I cannot have Synchronised tho’ I would expect him to be in the 1st-5 home.

Selections:
Aintree 4:15, PLANET OF SOUND, ¼pt eachway @ 33/1 (Bet365, ¼ odds 5 places, BOG)
Aintree 4:15, MIDNIGHT HAZE, ¼pt eachway @ 125/1 (Bet365, ¼ odds 5 places, BOG)
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.
Remember! Betting on horseracing should be a pleasurable experience - never bet more than you can afford to lose.
Thanks from Wayward Lad.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

A look at the National runners

The 468th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.

I’m having a pretty rough time of it personally lately, and it’s taking a lot out of me. This is my favourite time of the year as a horseracing fan but, at the moment, I’m finding it difficult to generate enthusiasm. It’s likely that there will be no blog for the next few days as it’s my dear old mum’s funeral on Thursday and I will be travelling up to Liverpool for that tomorrow (Wednesday) and returning home on Friday. I do hope to have a blog on Saturday for the Grand National.

There are just a couple of flat racing meetings today and, as I’ve not looked at the flat yet, I’ll give them a miss. Once we have the Aintree meeting over on Saturday then I will do a recap of my tipping record for the 2011-12 jumps season, and from Monday I will concentrate on the flat.

I was disappointed to see Thursdays blog selection COOTEHILL beaten into 2nd. He hit the final fence hard when holding a slight advantage, but I’m not sure that cost him the race as the eventual winner Wessex King ran-on very well from the last fence. I overlooked Wessex King in this race which was a mistake. He’d won both his starts on good-to-firm going and I reckon the ground was faster than “good” at Ludlow last Thursday.

The Aintree meeting this week will be the final BBC televised Grand National meeting as, from next year, the meeting will be televised by Channel 4. The meeting opens with the Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle featuring BIG BUCKS and it is unlikely that anything will trouble the champion staying hurdler. What is interesting is that Crack Away Jack is entered and has moved-on from Paul Nicholls to Tom George and this talented horse looks very well handicapped as a chaser. Later, the Betfred Bowl Chase over 3m1f looks a cracker and could provide a real turn-up of a result as plenty of these horses are entering unknown territory in terms of trip and class. The “Manifesto” novices chase over 2m4f looks tailor-made for CUE CARD, altho’ he may go for the Melling Chase over the same trip on Friday.

Saturday is all about the Grand National, and my early thoughts are to stick with one of my 3 selections in the race last year (when I advised Ballabriggs @ ½pt win, and ¼pt ew on both West End Rocker & The Tother One) and that is WEST END ROCKER. The likely soft going won’t phase him, he can jump the fences and he should stay the trip. The “National” is a race were it pays to be “in-the-van” as not many can get into contention from off the pace in the final circuit. I cannot really have any horses with a weight greater than 11st especially as it is likely that 30 of the 40 runners will be carrying less than 11st. Of those above the 11st thresh-hold, I do like PLANET OF SOUND who stays forever and will also handle the likely soft going. ACCORDING TO PETE definitely needs the going to be soft, but he’ll be up there and (providing he jumps the fences as he’s on the small side) he could sneak a place at 40/1. Another at the huge odds of 125/1 is MIDNIGHT HAZE who (for a 10yo) is lightly raced having had only 10 chase races of which he’s won 4. He likes to race prominently and he jumps well; he also stays 3-mile-plus and on just 10st he could give them all a run for their money. Remember, on Saturday morning it is likely that at least one bookmaker will offer eachway odds for 6-places on the race. So, we can look for long odds on some so-called no-hopers.

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.
Remember! Betting on horseracing should be a pleasurable experience - never bet more than you can afford to lose.
Thanks from Wayward Lad.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Form your own opinion of betting markets

The 467th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.

Sometimes, when you are looking at the races, a wager of particular significance jumps out of the page at you. Yesterday (and I know I did not write a blog yesterday) such a wager came to my attention when I went thru' the day's runners in my local betting-shop (I was late for my morning train, hence I wasn't able to buy a Racing Post on the way to the office) at noon. It was at Hereford and in the 3:10 there – which was a 2m3f novice handicap chase – only 5 horses went to post. Of those, 3 had virtually no chance so it was a straight "match" between the proven chasing front-runner Chapel House, and the chasing debutant - the 5yo Getaway Driver.  Given the situation I thought that CHAPEL HOUSE should have started the race at about 5/4 maybe even slightly odds-on at 10/11; therefore I was delighted to see 2/1 being offered at noon, and in the final minutes before the race I was able to obtain 3.70 (basically, odds of 5/2) on the exchanges. My 2pt stake was rewarded with a comfortable win that never looked in doubt from the off. I know that some will view this as after-timing, but I never recommend wagers on horses at odds less than 3/1 anyway so it would never have factored on the blog. The reason I'm writing about the race and the wager is that you have to make yourself aware of potential value in the betting markets at all times. I never look at the odds for a race before I've read the form. Once I have appraised the form and have a rudimentary odds-line for the race in my head; only then do I look at the odds.

The ability to appraise a race and allocate odds according to your own interpretation takes a bit of practise and a fair dollop of racing experience, it is not a skill picked-up overnight. It is tho', a skill worth developing and you should endeavour to form your own opinion of the betting markets in every race in which you have a wager, or consider having a wager in. In the past, I've used an odds-line spread-sheet attributing values to fitness, form and going (plus other factors such as jockey and trainer, course winner, distance winner and the X-factor) and then interpreting these values into odds. For instance, if you allocate values of 60 / 50 / 40 / 35 / 30 / 25 & 20 to the 7 runners in this example race, then the highest-rated at 60 would be fair value at odds of 100/30 (60 ÷ 260 = 23%) but good value at odds longer than 4/1. If the highest rated at 60 was at odds of 5/2 or shorter, then the best value in the race would be with another runner. If you prepare an odds-line spread-sheet, in my experience it is best to focus on the top-3 rated in your appraisal, for instance my allocation of the odds in the example race would be:
Top-rated @ 60 = 100/30 (60 ÷ 260 = 23%)
2nd-top @ 50 = 4/1 (50 ÷ 260 = 19%)
3nd-top @ 40 = 11/2 (40 ÷ 260 = 15%)
4th-top @ 35 = 13/2 (35 ÷ 260 = 13.5%)

If the actual odds were:
Top-rated = 5/2 (or 28.6% of the market)
2nd-top-rated = 9/2 (or 18.2% of the market)
3nd-top-rated = 7/2 (or 22.2% of the market)
4th-top-rated = 7/1 (or 12.50% of the market)

Then the "value" selection would be the 2nd top-rated at 9/2 with the 3rd top-rated a "lay" and possibly a "place-lay". This is a simplistic illustration of finding value in a race, but the principles are sound and never go out of fashion.

There is a good race today at Ludlow at 3:50. It's a 2m4f handicap chase and, as I write, the market is dominated by Marescsou – a recent French import running for the 2nd time in the UK for Venetia Williams – and Poliiteo who runs for trainer Nick Williams. Personally, I cannot see either of these horses winning this race unless they significantly improve on what they have shown recently. Politeo ran well last November over 2m3f at Ascot on good going and he will appreciate today's ground. The horse I like in this is the top-weight COOTEHILL who has run well all season and should be able to dominate the race from the front. Currently, he's 6/1 and I would have thought he should be a lot shorter odds for this race which looks fairly weak for the grade. He's more of a 4/1 chance in my book, and I'm having a small wager on him.

Selection:
Ludlow 3:50, COOTEHILL, ½pt win @ 6/1 (Ladbrokes, best odds guaranteed)

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.
The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you've read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Remember!  Betting on horseracing should be a pleasurable experience - never bet more than you can afford to lose.
Thanks from Wayward Lad.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Heritage of World's greatest steeplechase

The 466th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.

The jump season is now preparing for the finale of the Grand National meeting at Aintree next week. Being situated close to my home town of Maghull, the Grand National meeting  has always been at the forefront of my racing thoughts. I did not know it at the time, but my early investigation into the history of the Grand National indicated that the initial running's of the great race were at a track at Maghull. This has subsequently proved to be incorrect (even tho' many books and even the Aintree Roll of Honour at the track states Maghull as the scene of the earliest runnings of the race).  A great website at www.tbheritage.com details the earliest history of steeplechasing in the Liverpool area in some detail.

There was a racecourse at Maghull, and it was laid out on the ground that went on to form the playing field for my secondary school there (Ormonde Drive, now called Maghull high School). The area is criss-crossed with ditches so it would be no great surprise that the area was too marshy for horseracing to flourish. It did have a big advantage over the site of the track at Aintree tho' in its proximity to the hare-coursing grounds at Altcar where the Waterloo Cup was inaugurated in 1836. What most people nowadays fail to recognise was that Hare Coursing in the 1830's was the greatest spectator sport in operation. There was no football (the FA – Football Association – not being formed until 1863), nor cricket (the first County club being formed in Sussex in 1839) and tho' boxing drew huge crowds this was for the outlawed "bare-knuckle" prize-fighting. Hare coursing would be capable of drawing a crowd of 150,000 at its peak, who all stood out in the open walking across the fields and pole-vaulting the ditches to follow the action.

I'll be spending a bit of time this weekend looking at the form for the Grand National and producing a shortlist of potential winners. Hopefully, like last year, I will be able to focus on the one horse that goes on and wins the race. I remember last year that my early deliberations omitted eventual winner Ballabriggs as I thought he may lack the stamina to last out the extreme trip. But, on the eve of the race, I realised that being such a strong front-runner on going that clearly favoured those racing "in-the-van" was a far greater attribute than stamina and that he should be able to hold on to the advantage he had gained.

No selections today, as racing looks very ordinary.

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.
Remember!  Betting on horseracing should be a pleasurable experience - never bet more than you can afford to lose.
Thanks from Wayward Lad.

Monday, 2 April 2012

End of an era

The 465th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.

Last week wasn't the best of weeks for me. Not only was I laid-low with a severe bout of the "flu" but, on Saturday 31st March at about 1:45pm, my dear old mum died at the age of 89.

Marjorie had not had an easy life. Born in 1922, she grew-up in the aftermath of the Great War in a world whose economy was ravaged by the Great Depression. Pleasures, such as they were, could only be simple ones for the youngest girl in a family of 6 children who was sent out to work in a laundry at 14 and, in going out to work, she was the only member of the household bringing a wage in.  My mother's life started hard and never seemed to get any easier;  but she always provided a dependable, solid, proud and determined outlook on life. She was always friendly and accepting of all-comers.

I'll miss my mum as she was always there providing a comfort, a refuge, a cup of tea and a chair to sit and be silent in.

She was very tired at the end, and I hope she woke yesterday morning to be greeted by a beautiful Spring day with birds singing, a light breeze rustling the new leaves and that the smile I knew and loved came out and lit the twinkle in her eye.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.
Wayward Lad.