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Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.
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Saturday, 31 October 2015
Only one race was assessed, and only one selection given - but what a selection! It was an early start at 8:30am, but we had to get in early to grab the 8/1 odds about WAKANDA, as very quickly those odds started to tumble as the market recognised his outstanding chance on known form. As such, he started the 11/4 joint fav, but he was never in danger of sharing the spoils making-all to win by over 4-lengths. This exciting 6yo will hopefully pay his way again this season as he climbs the ratings, and what I like about his trainer Sue Smith is that she is prepared to blood her youngsters early and take advantage of their lenient handicap marks.
The win has taken the pressure away from me as I've now given a 2nd winner to all those who signed-up for the blog-via-email after the fantastic winning double we had on 10th October. And these winners are not 6/4 chances; oh no, odds of 8/1 is a great winner by anyone's standards. It also reinforces my own belief in my race-reading ability and that my "horse alert" method works.
Onto Saturday, and we already have a wager on the board with an antepost stake on DYNASTE in the feature race of the day at Wetherby, the Charlie Hall Chase at 3:05pm. We've managed to secure some value as we are on at 5/1, and I expect him to start at 7/2 or shorter. However, the soft ground is against him, and if making a selection this morning I would not be on DYNASTE.
We have a host of alert list runners tomorrow, but I cannot just wager on them blindly; they have to be followed when conditions are right for them. To prevent other potential tipsters from knowing what's on my alert list by reading the blog, I'll only mention those that I'm considering for a wager.
There are 3 cracking jump meetings at Wetherby, Ascot and Ayr, which mean there is no need for a scatter-gun approach to wagers - we can pick and choose our targets. There is nothing on the Ayr card for me despite a couple of horses on the alert list being involved, so let's concentrate on Ascot.
Ascot has an absolutely 1st-class card, and I wish I was there and not here in Cornwall (even tho' I am visiting my 13yo son as it's half-term). The 2m1f (Listed) handicap chase at 2:15pm looks a cracker of a race with 12-starters and a 9/2 fav in Sgt Reckless, who has only had 3 chase races. He has potential, but I think those odds do not represent value in so competitive a race. Now, Baby Mix has been on my alert list for 2 years and has been knocking on the door of a good win since returning from a long break in April. He goes well right-handed and boasts good speed figures, but I'm not sure that the trip will suit him, as he's been racing over 2m4f to good effect this summer. I think Ulck Du Lin will be hard-pushed to win off OR142, and I think a better chance is held by the 7yo Royal Regatta who is relatively unexposed having had only 6 chase races to date, and he was only just touched-off over C&D back in March. Odds of 9/1 look fair eachway value at quarter-odds a place.
Then at 3:25pm there is the 3-mile Grade 3 handicap chase with a large field of 15-runners, all of whom are serious handicappers. Likely fav Ned Stark has won 3 of his 5 chase races, but this is a tough 3-mile and, for me, he's not yet proven he has the stamina for it. What A Warrior won this race last year off OR135, and he's rated only 5lb higher; but he had the benefit of a winning run last year and comes into this off a break of 235-days. Virak didn't run well here in February with only 3 rivals, and probably wants soft ground. Pendra is on my alert list - and is also my entry on the Alternative 10-2-Follow list (see the link) - but I feel this trip may expose his stamina limitations, and he's going to be best when tackling the 2m5f at Cheltenham in the "Paddy Power". As such, I'm wondering if the winner will be one of my other alert list runners. Fox Appeal may not have stayed 3-mile as a hurdler, but he showed he stayed the trip as a chaser last week when 3rd at Cheltenham, a track that doesn't suit him (that was his best performance in 4 visits there). However, the "good" ground is a worry, as he needs some juice to show him best form. Present View has looked vulnerable beyond 2m6f, but he may have the class to carry him to victory anyway (as he's certainly better than OR145) if the ground were favourable. However, he's another who wants it softer than "good". With doubts over most of the market leaders, I'm thinking of sticking my neck out with the final horse on my alert list in the race; one that stays the trip and has won twice on "good" ground as a hurdler - Leo Luna. This horse was bred to win a Derby but, too slow to win a 3yo maiden, was sold to trainer Gary Moore. Admittedly, he's not beaten much in his 3 wins over fences, but he can't do much more than win when given the opportunity. I just wonder if I'm reading too much into this horse's races as a novice chaser. That Barry Geraghty has been booked for PENDRA has swung my opinion, but I can only go eachway. I will be having a small eachway on LEO LUNA as well.
Selection already advised:
Wetherby 3:05 DYNASTE, £10 win @ 5/1
Ascot 2:15 ROYAL REGATTA; £5 eachway @ 9/1 (Bet Victor & Paddy Power, quarter-odds a place 1,2,3)
Ascot 3:25 PENDRA; £5 eachway @ 8/1 (generally available, quarter-odds a place 1,2,3)
Ascot 3:25 LEO LUNA: £2.50 eachway @ 18/1 (Bet Victor & Paddy Power, quarter-odds a place 1,2,3)
Total = £25 staked
Friday, 30 October 2015
Royale Knight certainly loves these marathon trips and comes into his own once they go further than 3-miles. If he lines up for any race over 3m4f he has to be seriously considered.
There is only one race on my radar for Friday, and that is the Bet365 (Listed) handicap chase at 2:15pm over 2m3f & 85 yards. Only 8 runners go to post, and one who stands out is on my alert list - Wakanda. A 6yo trained by Sue Smith, he improved well last season, running in 8 chases in his novice season, winning 3 times. That included giving recent chase winner Oscar Rock a good thumping - and he gave him 5lb too! A bold front-runner, he was outclassed in the Grade 1 Novice Chase at Aintree in April but, before that, he's shown himself capable of a 145+ performance. Off OR139 he will take some beating and odds of 8/1 look generous.
Also in the race is Theatre Guide who, two seasons ago, ran 3rd in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury off OR145, and who is now on OR140. He's only had 6 races since that Hennessy run, and was last seen refusing when beaten in the Topham Chase over the National fences at Aintree. He clearly stays 3-mile and more, so is this 2m3f trip too short for him? At 4/1, his odds look too short despite him being one of the classiest in the race.
Pumped Up Kicks is the 9/2, 2nd-fav carrying 10st13lb, only 8lb less than Theatre Guide. Personally, I think this horse will need to find significant improvement on his recent form, and he does not strike me as the sort of horse who will find 7lb+ which is what he'll need to do to win this.
Off The Ground is next in the market at 5/1, but he lost the plot when with his previous trainer, and was running ok till falling on his debut for Charlie Longsdon 4-weeks ago. He still has to prove he's back to form for me. And Firth Of The Clyde will likely prefer a trip shorter than this and his stamina will be put to the test. Stamina is also the doubt for Mountain King as every time he's raced beyond 2m1f he's struggled.
Both Fago and Shadows Lengthen has something to prove. Fago beat Simply Ned (now rated OR161) as a novice chaser in November 2013, giving him 7lb and a 3-length beating. Unfortunately, he's come knowhere near that form since. Shadows Lengthen won this race last season off a 2lb lower mark, but he had the benefit of a run then, and he usually needs a run to get his season going. This year he comes to the race fresh, and that may scupper his chances. However, the trip and ground are perfect for him.
At the odds, and being the youngest in the race (alongside Mountain King), I have to take the plunge with WAKANDA as it may be one of those opportunities we get rarely in a season to make hay. This is an exciting 6yo and is one we will return to a few times this season.
Thursday, 29 October 2015
Sedgefield first, and the Class 3, 3m3f handicap hurdle at 2:30pm in which only 8-runners go to post. Personally, I think we can immediately discount Night In Milan who will be using this race to attain race-fitness for a handicap chase in November. His trainer sent him out for 2 handicap hurdles at this time last year, and he made no impression in either. The top-weight Sealous Scout isn't a confirmed stayer at this trip as he's only won once from 7 races beyond 2m6f, and when he won he beat another non-stayer.
The Grey Monk has had an interesting short life. Sold as a foal for just 350 Euros (£300), he went thru' the sales ring at Goffs as a 4yo store-horse for 210,000 Euros! He was purchased by Alan Potts (owner of Sizing Europe) and trained by Henry de Bromhead, but failed to show the promise of his physique, and so went back to the sales where he was sold for just £2500 in September 2014 to his current owner. So far he's won 2 from 3 races for his new owner, who had to go to £14,500 to retain him when he won a "seller" LTO. I think his OR124 rating looks reasonable and though his stamina is an unknown beyond 3-mile, he shapes as tho' he will stay the trip. Vaihau has only once shown a glimmer of form, that was when winning over 3-mile at Towcester. However, the fav pulled-up and the other 3 rivals where badly handicapped and outclassed.
The 10yo Snapping Turtle is consistent, but slow, and I can't see him winning. I also can't see the 6yo Iora Glas winning as he's looked very one-paced beyond 2m4f. George Fernbeck has recently been chasing. As such, his OR115 rating looks a tad high for hurdles, by about 10lb; but he does stay 3-mile-plus. Finally, Jac The Legend returns to hurdles after wining his debut chase in the Spring and following-up with another decent effort. Whether he'll transfer his chase form back to hurdles is debateable, but he has some ability.
For a Class 3 hurdle, now I've looked at the runners I can see why Night In Milan is so short in the betting - the opposition is dire.
Onto the Durham National handicap chase at 3:00pm over a trip of 3m5f. This Class 3 chase will take some staying, but seems to have attracted a small, but useful field of decent horses. Lackamon won this in 2013 (when run in April), and was 2nd last year (when run in October) but doesn't look capable of being involved this year. Royale Knight beat him last year to win this race, but races off a 12lb higher rating of OR136, which looks tough but he is strong on stamina, having finished only 15-lengths behind the winner Many Clouds in the Aintree Grand National in April. Sun Cloud was 4th last year off OR132, when he patently failed to stay the trip. So off OR140 it would be a surprise if he could turn the tables on Royale Knight.
On his day, Twirling Magnet is a 145+ chaser over 3-miles; but only he knows when these days are! He's not done well this summer, but has been given a break of 123-days and that may have rekindled his enthusiasm. Stamina beyond 3-mile is possibly his weak spot, as he's fallen or unseated at eith the final fence or 2nd-last on 3 occasions when he's tired at about 3-mile. There are no stamina issues about Woodford County, who started as joint-fav for the Welsh National last December. A winner at 3m2f on soft ground, OR126 looks very lenient for the 8yo, and this horse is the only runner for Philip Hobbs at Sedgefield today, and his first runner at the track in over 5 years. Finally, we have Finish The Story and this one doesn't look capable of winning off OR114, even with just 10st in the saddle.
Wednesday, 28 October 2015
Unless you have a significant edge in the form of stable information (which I do not subscribe to) then - in my opinion - it is very tricky, if not impossible, to make regular profits on racing at Class 4 or lower.
Sometimes I find a horse, especially from an unfashionable stable, that is rated OR90-110 and on the upgrade, capable of perhaps reaching OR135+ with good handling and a slice of luck, but they don't come around often, I've a couple like that on my alert list and I'm waiting for the right opportunity to come about in which to wager on.
As such, I'm not tempted by the meeting at Fakenham today, and it is likely that I will wait until Thursday (and the meetings at Sedgefield and Stratford) before considering my next wager. The class 3 handicap chase at Stratford over 2m3f looks very interesting, as we could see the return to the track of talented 3-mile novice hurdler African Gold.
On Friday, the meeting at Uttoxeter does not look special, but Wetherby on the same day has a couple of good races including a Class 1 Listed chase over 2m3f.
However, it is Saturday that holds the feature race of the week - the Charlie Hall Chase. The race pulls together some of the best chasing talent seen last season. Can Grand National winner Many Clouds defy top-weight? Will Irish Cavalier continue his rapid progress? Can Holywell reproduce his form of the Spring? Can Cue Card recover his form of 2013, and his win in the Betfair Chase?
Looking at the betting for the race, the antepost fav is Dynaste, who has been given a tremendous chance by the race conditions as (along with Cue Card and Ballynagour) he's not won a Class 3 (or better) chase since the cut-off of the 30th September 2014. Even so, Dynaste was running some tremendous races last season: 3rd in the Betfair Chase; 2nd in the King George and then a disappointing 3rd in the Betbright Chase in January. There is no ground worry, and the trip is perfect; the only doubt is the recent form of his trainer as David Pipe has been struggling to find the winners' enclosure in October. Ignore the recent run in France by Dynaste, as the ground was described as very soft, and soft/heavy ground is very unsuitable for Dynaste.
Cue Card has not run well on his seasonal debut for the past two seasons, and last season he was running about 15-20lb below his best. As such, I do not think he should be the 2nd-fav as he'll need to be in top-form to take this.
Holywell would be the value in the race at 7/1 with Paddy Power, but he's also been a notorious slow starter when making his seasonal debut for the past few seasons. However, his trainer Jonjo O'Neill has started very well this season.
Menorah has only won once beyond 2m6f (from 8 attempts) and that was when winning this race last season - when he beat a poor field. He went on to prove the form NTO when 2nd in the Betfair Chase at Haydock, and the "good" ground will be in his favour; but I feel this horse (who will turn 11yo on 1st Jan) has had his day in the sun.
Many Clouds won the Grand National last April looking like he was still an improving horse, and if the race hasn't taken too much out of him, he could be in the mix here even with 11st 10lb. I just feel he'll be up against it giving 10lb to the likes of Dynaste and Cue Card. That, and the "good" ground will be against him.
Ballynagour is an odd one, as he's not looked capable of mixing with this grade till going down by just a "head" at Aintree last April in the Grade 1 Betfred Bowl. It may be that he just found his perfect conditions that day, and he was the only horse that came into the race "fresh" as he hadn't run since pulling-up in the 'Hennessy' last November. That said, if he runs to 160+ then off just 11st he will be tough to beat, but he's another trained by David Pipe.
Anything sent by Paul Nicholls needs serious consideration, and he sends two - Rocky Creek and Sam Winner. I like Rocky Creek as he's a very consistent performer who always tries his best. Unfortunately he seems to have plateaued at about 157-158, but what is in his favour is that he has run very well on his seasonal debut (2nd in the Hennessy in 2013, and 2nd in the Grade 1 Champion Chase in Ireland last year). Sam Winner took a 4-runner Class 1 chase at Aintree in December last year, hence his 10lb penalty, which looks to have scuppered his chance, as he's another that can run well on his seasonal debut.
The last horse with the potential to win this race is Irish Cavalier, sent by Rebecca Curtis. Already a winner this season, and looking an improved horse in the process, he needs to find another 10lb at least to win this off 11st 6lb. However, I reckon he will go well and he's one for Cheltenham next March. Curtis also has The Romford Pele entered, but this horse will need mud and a large dose of good fortune to bring him into contention.
Looking at the antepost betting, the 5/1 offered by the race sponsor Bet365 about Dynaste seems good value, as I think he'll start the 7/2 fav if the ground remains "good", and he may start even shorter odds than that. Cue Card will not be far away, but his lack of "zip" last season suggests he's going to be placed at best. I think with 11st 10lb, Many Clouds will find more than 3 of these too good for him and at 5th odds a place 1,2,3 his current best odds of 6/1 do not represent value. If you are looking for an eachway wager, then I think the 12/1 offered about Rocky Creek looks the best value available, though he's unlikely to win if they all finish the race.
I've taken the 5/1 about Dynaste.
Wetherby 31st October 2015
Bet365 Charlie Hall Chase: DYNASTE, £10 win @ 5/1 with Bet365
Monday, 26 October 2015
Sunday, 25 October 2015
It seems to me we are witnessing a changing of the guard when it comes to trainers, and although both Nicholls and Henderson had winners yesterday, so did capable young names like Rebecca Curtis and Nick Skelton on Friday.
We have an extra hour this Sunday as the clocks went back overnight, and it gives us a little longer to look at the form for meetings at Aintree and Wincanton. There are a number of alert list horses running and we have an exciting day ahead.
At Aintree at 1:55pm, we have a 3-mile conditional jockeys handicap hurdle. Not my usual sort of race, but I like 3-mile hurdles as very few horses truly stay this sort of trip if they are run at a good gallop. Last year Carn Rock ran a good 4th off OR110, and that was off a break. He's had a pipe-opener recently, and could push the fav Sykes, who is only 6/4 for this with his stamina unproven.
Then, at 2:30pm, we have a veteran's handicap chase over 3m1f and Danimix will prove tough to beat if in the same form as he was 2-weeks ago. He's re-opposed by Benbens who is 11lb better-off, but Benbens would prefer soft ground. Lie Forrit won this race last year, but off a 20lb lower rating and I cannot see him winning this. Ely Brown hasn't completed a race in 20 months and is another who would prefer softer ground, if not heavy. Not so Maggio, who has not finished out of the 1st-3 in 4 races at 3-mile and who will handle the "good" ground. He's a LTO winner and is being aimed at the Grand National, but he's likely to go well here as his trainer will want to maintain his rating to guarantee he lines up next April. When he met Mwaleshi in January over 2m5f on level weights, Mwaleshi easily beat him, so you may be thinking that on 10lb better terms Mwaleshi should be well-in today - but Mwaleshi was at the limit of his stamina that day and this 3m1f trip will expose his stamina limitations. Any Currency has been racing on Cross-Country courses and cannot be expected to be up for this, and the trip is also too long for Russian Realm. MAGGIO could upset fav Danimix in his search for a hat-trick and 9/1 looks fair eachway value.
The feature race of the day is at 3:30pm and it's the Old Roan Chase over 2m4f. A limited handicap, this race will see the return of some excellent chasing talent, among them Johns Spirit (odds of 11/2) who seems to have been around for ever yet is still only an 8yo. Johns Spirit has been on my alert list for nearly 3 years now and has more than paid his way. He was only beaten a head in the "Paddy Power" handicap chase at Cheltenham last November off OR156, so on a mark of OR157 he's certainly capable of winning this if he's fit and well. Others on my alert list in this race are Buywise (11/2) and Sound Investment (9/1). Outside of these 3, the only other horse who may be capable of winning is Splash Of Ginge (10/1) who, on a going day is very decent. Sound Investment has been aimed at this race for a long time as he's been kept away from chasing since winning in February in order to protect his OR155 rating. He was given a hurdle race earlier this month so comes here race fit. I just feel that he'd prefer good-to-soft ground, but he wont be far away and will likely be aimed at the Ryanair Chase at the Festival next March. Buywise is very exciting as, with luck on his side, he'd have won at the Cheltenham Festival last March. As such he comes here only rated a 1lb higher on OR147, and, being proven on the ground and at the trip, he holds a great chance. He won on his seasonal debut last year so being fresh is no handicap. He was also in the "Paddy Power" last November and has 3-lengths to find to beat Johns Spirit based on that race, but this hold-up horse will not have to weave his way through as many horses in this and that may prove the difference. At the odds, Sound Investment at 9/1 (quarter-odds a place with Bet365), is probably the best value, but it would not surprise me to see Johns Spirit or Buywise win this either.
At Wincanton, there is a decent 3m2f class 3 handicap chase at 2:45pm which should go the 2/1 fav Cowards Close, last seen staying-on in the race won by Drop Out Joe. Cowards Close is on my alert list as he can win off this OR130 mark despite probably being a better horse on soft ground, and as the season progresses and we get softer ground we will see this horse come into his own, and I expect him to be a OR145+ chaser before the seasson ends. Another on my alert list in this race is Dont Do Mondays, but he's not shown in the past that he has the stamina for this sort of trip. So, the likely danger to the fav is According To Trev, who does stay 3m2f and also handles good ground, and has slipped to an interesting OR132 rating just 2lb above his last winning mark. His jumping can be error-prone, but a safe round will see him push the fav and at 6/1 he is an interesting eachway possibility in this 8-runner race (5th odds a place, 1,2,3).
I'm going to play safe and try and recoup some recent losses with an eachway wager on MAGGIO in the veterans chase whose odds of 9/1 look good value.
Aintree 2:30 MAGGIO, £5 eachway @ 9/1 (Bet Victor, Paddy Power, Hills and Ladbrokes all go 5th the odds a place 1,2,3)
Saturday, 24 October 2015
Unfortunately, the blog selection yesterday Vintage Vinnie showed he still has a bit to learn about jumping fences when making a serious error on the 2nd-circuit before coming down at the 3rd-last fence when under pressure. It's possible that he'd have won this had he not fallen, as he'd have been involved at the finish and was still going well. He remains on the alert list.
The opening event is a new race being a 2-mile Class 2 handicap chase (replacing a 2m4f Class 2 handicap chase won for the past 2 seasons by Johns Spirit). Of the 12 runners, 5 have had the benefit of a run this autumn or which Workbench put up the best performance when beating Purple 'n Gold. They meet again with Workbench on 8lb worse terms, so David Pipe (trainer of Purple 'n Gold) must think he has a chance of reversing the placings, but the win by Workbench was eye-catching.
Of the others, Next Sensation loves it round here but usually needs a run, and I prefer Eastlake - ridden by Barry Geraghty - who is 5lb better-off for their meeting at the Festival in March, as he has shown he's capable of winning on his seasonal debut. Turn Over Sivola was also in that race (running 5th) and the 8yo could hold the key to this tricky race. Trainer Alan King has his stable in good form, and he has only 2 runners today. Trainer Evan Williams has two entered, and while Going Concern looks a little out of his depth here, De Faoithesdream will almost certianly try and make-all setting a strong pace - which will be perfect for Turn Over Sivola who, at 9/1 looks fair eachway value.
From my alert list there are several runners at Cheltenham.
In the 3:20pm we have Fox Appeal, and in the 3:55pm there is Miss Serious, and then at 5:05pm is Saffron Wells.
Fox Appeal just does not like Cheltenham, so he's off my radar in the 3:20, despite him being 3rd fav. The race fav Audacious Plan needs to find some improvement on his seasonal debut, but he's 13/2 which shows how wide open this race is. Last years winner Roalco De Farges is 2nd-fav but the good ground wont suit him as he likes some give, and if he's going to win a race this season then this will be it - hence he's 2nd-fav. This looks a race that will go to one long in the market and of those in the 10/1 - 12/1 range, Theatrical Star should go well as he's very consistent, jumps and stays well, and should appreciate todays ground. The worry for me is that there are a lot in this race who want softish ground and they wont get it today, so the race is tricky to fathom.
There doesn't appear to be value in the next few races on the card, and the novice chase will all depend on the jumping ability of Parlour Games.
The handicap hurdle at 5:05pm looks another tough nut to crack, The reason Saffron Wells is on my alert list is that I want him to go novice chasing as I think he will be a decent handicap chaser.
Overall, the best opportunity looks to be in the opening race of the afternoon, as I've looked at the meeting at Kelso, and only the 3:05pm handicap chase catches my eye but the race-fav Gold Futures looks very strong in that race and offers no value.
There's already been money for TURN OVER SIVOLA as yesterday evening you could obtain 12/1, and now he's into 9/1. Given how competitve the race is, it will only be a small eachway wager, as we have a good Aintree card tomorrow to get stuck into.
Cheltenham 2:10 TURN OVER SIVOLA, £5 eachway @ 9/1 (available generally, quarter-odds a place 1,2,3)
Friday, 23 October 2015
Onto today's racing and we return to Cheltenham for the first time this season. It's great to be back at the Prestbury track, but the racing doesn't seem particularly inspiring. The "good" (possibly good-to-firm in places) ground has seen the fields cut-up a lot, as trainers want to protect their horses from a possible injury at this stage of the season on ground firmer than ideal.
In the opener, John Ferguson sends his unbeaten hurdler Penglai Pavilion for the novice hurdle, but I'm not sure he's shown enough to be as good as his RPR rating. Not only that, but this 2m5f trip will certainly test his stamina as he's only raced over 2-mile so far. No such worries for Irish trained Exarro who won a competitive race over this trip in Ireland LTO. And the same for Casual Approach, who beat a useful field in Ireland last month including Snow Falcon who ran 5th in the Neptune novice hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Trained by Gordon Elliot, Casual Approach is the most likely winner in my opinion, but you cannot ignore many in this field including Sandymount Duke who is the ride of Barry Geraghty. Overall, the form in the race gives the punter little to go on.
The 2-mile novice chase at 2:45pm has a disappointing turnout of just 4-runners. However, Dormello Mo is a good yardstick having the most chasing experience despite being, at 5yo, the youngest. Heavy ground probably didn't suit Rock The World LTO, but today's ground will suit and he could return to front-running tactics that worked well when winning at Galway on 8th September. Sizing Codelco is possibly the weakest on form of thise with chasing experience, and today is the chase debut for Qewy. Trainer John Ferguson is better known for his hurdlers, so this could prove tough for Qewy. As such, if having a wager, I'm tempted by Rock The World who is ridden by the capable Barry Geraghty, and odds of 5/2 look fair value as he probably will start the fav at 7/4 unless there is significant support for Qewy on his chase debut.
I'm going to bypass the 3-mile handicap hurdle, and move on to the other novice chase at 3:55pm which is run over 3-miles, and looks a cracker. There are two in this off my alert list - Ballykan and Vintage Vinnie. The 5yo Ballykan looks a tremendous prospect having won both his novice chases over 3-mile, jumping soundly in the process. Today, he concedes 3lb to the 6yo Vintage Vinnie, who was born to be a chaser. He absolutely walloped subsequent winner Upswing on his debut, and if confirming that ability today he will prove hard to beat. Paul Nicholls' Vicente will certainly need to have improved a fair bit over the summer to win this, and a stronger challenge could come from A Good Skin who raced to a good level in the Spring of this year, winning at Cheltenham in April. As we've seen this season (with Cocktails At Dawn on 10th October) experience counts for a lot in novice chase races at this stage of the season, and you cannot ignore A Good Skin. With the others looking outclassed, it remains to consider whether there is any value in the betting. The presence of Vicente has skewed the top of the market, and the odds of 11/4 about VINTAGE VINNIE look fair to me, as I'd have expected him to be 9/4 or less for this race, especially as he's receiving 3lb from his main rivals.
The remaining 3 races on the card look tough to fathom, and I want to try and get into the remainder of the weekend on a winner and I reckon VINTAGE VINNIE gives me the best chance of that. Rebecca Curtis is a very capable trainer, and she won this race last season (with The Romford Pele) and her stable is in excellent form, with this horse being her only runner today.
Cheltenham 3:55 VINTAGE VINNIE, £10 win @ 11/4 (available generally Bet365, Stan James, Bet Victor, Coral)
Thursday, 22 October 2015
Promanco suffered from a poor ride at Fontwell, and tho' he wouldn't have won his race he probably would have been 2nd. He could be worth another chance if turning out again soon. The race winner Drum Valley ran a cracker under 10lb-claimer Ben Ffrench Davis, making-all and staying-on strongly. As I wrote yesterday, he didn't lack stamina and the only real doubt was whether he'd be race-fit off a 319-day lay-off - this is the sort of thing that can only be assessed in the paddock before the race. Not being at the track - or having pictures relayed from the paddock by the tv companies - does put the punter at a disadvantage and is one of the items that you have to build in to your risk assessment of the race.
Even so, Drum Valley is going onto my alert list as he holds a chase rating of OR124 (he won this hurdle off OR132) and he must surely be able to take advantage of his chase rating.
At Worcester, my assessment of the opening race fav Playing The Field was spot-on as the 10yo struggled to make an impression despite being the 3/1 fav. It was the next race on the card that took the wind out of my sails, I thought that the race-fav Skylander was well ahead of his OR128 rating, but his stamina was severely tested at this 2m7f trip and on reflection his best trip as a chaser is 2m4f. The ground being good-to-soft was not a problem as he's won on soft ground as a hurdler twice, and a drop in trip should see him back in the winners enclosure. Unfortunately, I overlooked one from my alert list in this race in Upswing - a horse who'd shown himself to be a capable 3-mile hurdler on soft/heavy ground but had yet to demonstrate similar ability as a novice chaser. There must have been plenty of stable support for the horse as the morning odds of 7/1 were soon gone and an SP of 9/2 was returned. This was a missed opportunity, but Upswing is the sort of horse Jonjo O'Neill can run up a sequence with as he will improve on softer ground and should stay another 2 or 3 furlongs.
The only other horse I considered yesterday, Days Ahead in the 2-mile Class 4 handicap chase, ran a stinker and was reported by his trainer to have suffered breathing problems and lost a hind shoe. All-in-all, this was a good reminder to stick to better quality racing involving better quality, proven horses.
There are 3 meetings today at Carlisle, Ludlow and Southwell, and these midweek meetings can throw-up some decent racing at this stage of the season as trainers endeavour to get their horses race-fit. The 2-mile "Beginners' Chase" at Carlisle at 2:50pm has been won by some decent horses in its short 4-year history and I will be watching this race with interest. Yorkshire trainer Sue Smith does well with her horses when they go chasing and I'm expecting a big run from Special Wells on his chase debut.
There is nothing of interest to me at Southwell.
Ludlow is one of my favourite courses and, being right-handed, it has a fair share of course specialists. The 3-mile Class 4 handicap chase at 4:15 has only 5-runners (Kasbadali is a non-runner) but we could have a wagering opportunity. Current fav is Butlergrove King who won on his debut for his trainer earlier this month over 2m4f, but has not looked a 3-miler on his attempts a the trip earlier this year. Buck Mulligan has won twice at 3-mile; once as a hurdler and once on his chase debut here when virtually gifted the race. I know him from old, and he's not got much in the tank beyond 2m5f. Jayandbee is a C&D winner (3m1f actually) but was off the track for 16 months through injury before returning in September. He's been givena chance by the handicapper if he's returning to form as he's run well off OR111 and is on OR103 today. As for Victor Leudorum, he's capable of winning this on his best form, but he appears to have lost his way completely. That leaves Dabinett Moon who has only had 2 runs under rules as he's been plying his trade on the point-to-point field. However, he is a full brother to his stable-mate Strongbows Legend who was rated OR130 at his peak. There is not much scope in the betting for him, and he's 100/30.
I started off writing this assessment of the 4:15 at Ludlow thinking Dabinett Moon was the likely selection but, on reflection, JAYANDBEE does not have to find much on his previous run to take this weak race, and his prominent running style should ensure he's given every chance. Odds of 9/2 look fair given the dubious form-lines of his 4 rivals and he's the wager. I know it goes against what I've written earlier in the blog about sticking to better quality racing, but this is a very weak race which won't take much winning. That, and I consider Jayandbee should be 9/4 for this race and not 9/2.
Ludlow 4:15, JAYANDBEE, £10 win @ 9/2 (available with Coral and Betfred)
Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Saturday, 17 October 2015
As I wrote on the blog yesterday when assessing the race, there were only two horses in it and it was very difficult to split them on known form. So, with one offered at "evens" and the other at 9/2 it was a no-brainer as to which horse was the best value - it was like tossing a coin and being offered "evens" about heads and 9/2 about tails. Watching the race, it was a true test and I'm keeping Open Hearted on my alert list, and adding Knock House as well, as this was a tremendous effort from the 6yo having his debut for the season.
That makes 4 winners from 9 selections this season for the blog. I will try and keep this good run going, but it will not be easy.
Apart from the Champions Day meeting on the flat at Ascot, we have 3 jump meetings today at Ffos Las, Stratford and Market Rasen. I'm sticking to my tried & trusted methods of winner finding, relying on my alert list when possible, and sticking to better quality races when not; but there is not much value on my radar at the 3 meetings this afternoon.
The first wager of the jumps season was on Cloudy Bob, and he ran a solid 3rd at Worcester over 2m4f on unsuitable "good" ground. He is out again at Market Rasen, but over 3-mile today, and again it is "good" ground. He doesn't have the stamina for 3-miles, but he does like this track as his last win was here over 2m5f on soft ground. After that win he was rated OR128 and now he's slipped to OR118, so he is very well handicapped and, being just an 8yo, time has not caught him up yet. So, in my book, he's a winner waiting to happen when he gets the right conditions - unfortunately, that isn't today. He may sneak 3rd place being on such a lenient mark, but I would bet against that and for those of you who are more adventurous a "place-lay" on the exchanges could prove profitable.
I've looked at the Stratford 2:55pm race which is a 2m4f handicap chase, but there are too many "dodge-pots" in this race for me, and anyone of the field could win it if they were in the mood.
So, no selection today but I'm sure readers who have been about these past couple of weeks won't be complaining. I will take a look at Sunday's jump racing later this afternoon and see if there is an opportunity for tomorrow.
Friday, 16 October 2015
However, at Fakenham at 4:00pm there is an interesting 3-mile chase which provides us with an opportunity. Only 5-runners go to post, so it is likely to be a trappy affair, but the field is - in my opinion - split between 3 with little chance of success, and 2 with a high chance of success.
The 3 who I think have little chance are:-
Bucking The Trend - off the track since February 2014, but only a 7yo. He is likely to need the run today, as his trainer Tim Vaughan is struggling to hit form and winners are few and far between. Watch this horse as he is on an attractive mark when recovering his fitness and form.
Wiesentraum - small fields are his cup-of-tea, but he's lost form badly over the past 12-months and his run last month (the race won by Oscar Rock) gave little scope for a return to the winners enclosure today.
Kilbree Kid - has crept up the ratings to the point where he is now poorly handicapped and needing (in my opinion) respite from the handicapper. The trip and ground will suit him today, and he is a consistent sort who will likely give his running but, I fear, he wont be good enough.
This race is between Knock House and OPEN HEARTED.
Knock House is unproven at 3-mile - I don't consider beating 2 rivals at Huntingdon at odds of 1/2 to have been a severe test of his stamina - and his Cheltenham Festival 5th suggests that 21-furlong is his current limit.
OPEN HEARTED hasn't proven his stamina at 3-mile either, but he's won at over 2m6f over hurdles, and more importantly he's shown he's better than his OR138 rating in the past. He's a safe jumper of a fence and at the odds - he's currently 9/2 with 5/1 available occasionally - he's worth an eachway wager. I included him on my alert list after his latest run for Dan Skelton, who acquired him from Nicky Henderson in the summer, and I'm expecting an improved run from him today,
Fakenham 4:00 Open Hearted, £8 eachway AND £4 win @ 9/2 (BetVictor, William Hill, Ladbrokes who are BOG plus quarter-odds a place 1st & 2nd)
Total Staked = £20
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Thursday, 15 October 2015
I believe Loose Chips is a lot better than his current OR130 rating as he ran to 138 on my ratings last February when 2nd on soft ground at Sandown. The good ground today will be too quick for him, so success will be dependent upon the errors of others in the race. As such, I feel the advantage in this race lies with the fav By The Boardwalk but, as he's currently at odds of 7/4 (at best) he is too short in the market for me to recommend as a wager.
We've had a quiet week so far since the winning double on Saturday. I did think I had a wagering opportunity yesterday but, due to internet issue and problems with my laptop, I was unable to properly research and post a blog. As it happened' the horse I intended making a selection ran 3rd in the 3:50 at Wetherby, Final Assault. This was a very promising run from the 6yo, as he made-up considerable ground from the 2nd-last fence to be beaten under a length by the winner. I had a personal eachway wager on him (so no money lost) and providing the handicapper isn't silly with him (and as he was 3rd that is unlikely to happen) he looks very promising for his next run.
As such, no selection today; but there is some potential for possibly Friday.
Ocer in Ireland today, DON COSSACK begins his campaign that hopefully will end with him winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup next March. I currently rate him the best staying chaser in training and his race today at 4:30pm will be little more than a gallop for him.
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Monday, 12 October 2015
Before that tho’, a quick review of the racing on Saturday, and the first selection put up by the blog was COCKTAILS AT DAWN who ran exactly as I hoped he would, from the front in a trail-blazing ride, putting those novice chasers have their debut over fences under pressure from the off. Quite why this proven chaser was allowed to drift in the betting from a morning price of 5/1 to an SP of 6/1 is beyond me, as I thought he should have gone off the 5/2 fav. He didn’t show any improved form on Saturday when winning, so he’s played his hand with regards his handicap mark now, and may prove tricky to win with again in handicap company this season unless he finds some improvement. So I wouldn't be tempted to take antepost odds about him going for the Paddy Power handicap chase at Cheltenham, which is where he's expected to go next. I reckon I've found one that looks primed to go well in that race - and he's not in the betting lists!
The other selection was DROP OUT JOE who was well fancied in the betting, shortening from a morning price of 7/1 (I did advise on the blog when it was posted at 10:30am to take those odds quickly) to an SP of 5/1. He went off the 2nd-fav to Sausalito Sunrise, who was looking ominous 4-out. However, he never led, and he looked outpaced by DROP OUT JOE approaching 3-out. For some reason, jockey Richard Johnson eased Sausalito Sunrise before 2-out and he was pulled-up. A vetinary inspection post-race found nothing wrong with him, and trainer Phil Hobbs could offer no explanation for the horse being pulled-up. As the horse was a well-supported 11/4 fav, that isn’t good enough from the trainer or the jockey. Despite that, I really could not see anything beating blog selection DROP OUT JOE the way he finished the race, as he was 10-lengths clear 2-out and still 6-lengths clear jumping the last. He’d been on his own in front for so long it was no surprise to see him idle on the run-in, but he rallied again when the runner-up challenged, giving the impression there was plenty left in the tank.
There is a meeting at Sedgefield this afternoon, but I can’t see any value.
The response to the winners posted on the blog on Saturday was great but, strangely, not as enthusiastic as when I posted a 25/1 winner in November 2013 with my sole selection of that day (it was Midnight Appeal on 13thNovember 2013). From the numerous requests to be included on a blog email list, I have had less than 20% respond to my introductory email. So this blog is only being emailed to those who have responded and acknowledged the terms.
Saturday, 10 October 2015
Over the jumps there are two meetings today at Chepstow and Hexham, and it is the Chepstow meeting which has the better quality racing. The opening couple of races are novice hurdles, and these sort of races are best assessed in the paddock beforehand as you really need to see just how fit the horses are at this time of the season, and then gamble on how well they have been schooled at home. Trainer Dan Skelton has a great strikerate here with his hurdlers (5 wins from 11 runners) and he has 4 hurdlers entered at Chepstow today, all at decent odds.
The novice chase at 3:20pm looks interesting.
The likely fav is Blaklion who I thought was super-consistent last season when novice hurdling. He stays 3-mile well in that sphere, so today it will all depend on how well he takes to jumping fences. The Paul Nicholls trained As De Mee will be well schooled, but the worry for me with him is that all 3 hurdle wins came going right-handed, and he disappointed when going left-handed. Will he handle left-handed Chepstow? Racing Pulse was a decent novice hurdler in 2013-14, but missed last season entirely. If he's back to his best he could be a good chaser as his novice hurdle run when beaten by Seeyouatmidmight in Feb14 looks a lot better now than it did then. Regal Encore is also at about the same level as Blaklion over hurdles, whereas Native River looks outclassed. Probably the classiest of these over hurdles is Pearl Swan who is having his first run for Peter Bowen having left the Nicholls stable. He's had his problems, but still has plenty of ability and the change of stable plus going chasing could revive his career. Perhaps the value in the race is proven chaser COCKTAILS AT DAWN who is only having to concede 8lb for being a chase winner and, if he runs to the level of his LTO win at Sandown in April, he will take a lot of beating; odds of 5/1 look generous to me for this Nicky Henderson trained novice.
There are a couple of handicap hurdles but they look very competitve, so I'll give them a miss and instead move on to the 3-mile Class 2 handicap chase at 5:05pm which looks a cracker.
The 11/4 fav is Sausalito Sunrise but those odds look no value based on his novice form of last season, and OR144 is about his level in my opinion; and it will take a horse running about 5lb+ above their rating to win this. Cowards Close (on my alert list) is one such horse who looks capable of running to that level and more. A safe jumper and resolute galloper, he may prefer some give in the ground. Audacious Plan improved with every run as a novice chaser last season, but he may want longer than 3-mile to show his best as he's generally one-paced at the business end. Drop Out Joe was unlucky to bump into a rejuvenated Wayward Prince last season, denying him a win in the valuable "Grimthorpe" at Doncaster. However, his run at Aintree in May suggests that he can defy this OR133 rating on todays ground, especially if he's improved his jumping. At OR136, Standing Ovation needs respite from the handicapper, as does Garrahalish. Whereas The Romford Pele (on my alert list), who will likely need todays run after being off the track 358-days, and also seems to prefer small fields of under 10-runners. Another off my alert list in the race is Sego Success, who has stamina a-plenty and will come into his own when we get softer ground later in the season. Even so, he looks well handicapped, and meets Doing Fine on 4lb better terms than when he finished in front of his at Cheltenham in March. Handy Andy always runs his race, but OR125 has him at his level. The 10lb rise for Buachaill Alainn looks too much for this win LTO. This trip looks beyond Oscar Fortune and OR132 looks a tad too high as well. Terminal hasn't won since he was a novice chaser (ran in the RSA Novice Chase at the Cheltenham Festival won by Lord Windermere in 2013), ans appears to have lost interest. For me, the value in the race lies with DROP OUT JOE at 7/1 generally, but be quick as some bookies have trimmed to 13/2.
Chepstow 3:20 Cocktails At Dawn, £4 eachway @ 5/1 (available generally, quarter-odds a place 1, 2)
Chepstow 5:05 Drop Out Joe, £4 eachway @ 7/1 (available generally, quarter-odds a place 1, 2, 3)
Plus: £2 eachway double, Cocktails At Dawn and Drop Out Joe
Total Staked = £20
If you are interested in receiving the blog via an email, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you details. Already there are a number of subscribers to the emails, for which benefits are being able to read the blog before it goes online, and not having to check either twitter or the blog online to see if a new blog selection has been posted. I have a couple of options, and you just have to choose which is best for you.
Friday, 9 October 2015
Wednesday, 7 October 2015
Monday, 5 October 2015
Saturday, 3 October 2015
It made me realise that sticking to the alert list is probably the best thing to do with selections until the form settles down.
Still, the blog has made a decent start to the jumps season from the 3 selections to date: 1 winner, 1 placed, and 1 lost
Profit = £28
Total staked = £30
There are two meetings over the jumps today (Saturday) at Fontwell and Hexham.
At Fontwell, the main race that I am interested in is the 3:20pm a Class 2 handicap hurdle over an extended 2m3f.
The topweight is an old friend of the blog, FOXCUB, who has won a couple of times for us and is a horse who runs well at Fontwell. He started last season in this race and ran 2nd off OR129 finishing well clear of the 3rd horse, but was unable to contain the winner that day, Henryville, who won of OR138 and ended the season rated OR156 going on to run 4th in the Pertemps Final over 3-mile at the Cheltenham Festival - so, no disgrace in defeat that day.
In his next race, he made an early mistake and couldn't make an impression after that. However, at Bangor in November, he made-all over a similar trip to today off OR132. In his final couple of races he was outclassed in the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot and the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton. The worry is that he may just need this race to reach peak fitness, and trainer Tom Symonds would like to go chasing with him this season.
The current race-fav PROMANCO looks very well handicapped on OR122 if the promise of his latest win in May is anything to go by. However, the same can be said for the 2nd-fav AFTER EIGHT SIVOLA who won well over 2-mile LTO and has won over a similar trip to today. The other LTO winner in the race is GIOIA DI VITA, who is another who could be well handicapped as, behind him when he won LTO was a subsequent good winner.
A tricky race to fathom, and one in which I'd like to side with my alert list horse but realistically, I can't as there are too many improving unexposed rivals. I expect FOXCUB to run well, trying to make-all as usual; and, if he gets them all off the bridle in the final mile then, who knows?
As such, no wager advised today, but we may have one tomorrow.
Friday, 2 October 2015
There are no alert list runners out today, but it looks like there will be a couple running over the weekend.
Back to Fontwell, and the opening juvenile maiden hurdle looks wide open, and the following handicap chase has been reduced to just 3 runners. However, the Class 3 handicap hurdle at 3:15pm looks more interesting. The race-fav is Shear Rock, and he's running off OR115 which is 7lb higher than his rating LTO when he won at Market Rasen in June. I think he's vulnerable off this revised rating as he looked at the extreme of his ability when he won that race, and he only won that race by a "neck". I'm more interested in another in this race, Royal Battalion sent here by local trainer Gary Moore.
If you want an example of how the finger of fate can effect horseracing, then Royal Battalion is perfect. His dam, Yummy Mummy, is a full sister to multiple Group 1 winner Fame And Glory, and his half-sister is none-other than multiple Group 1 winning 3yo filly Legatissimo. As a yearling, Legatissimo sold for £350,000, and her half-brother Royal Battalion sold for £575,000 - yet, one is winning Group 1 races on the flat, and the other is contesting a handicap hurdle at Fontwell.
I think we will see significant improvement from Royal Battalion as a hurdler as he's already shown that he's capable of jumping a hurdle and winning this summer. The soft ground, and having just 2 rivals did for him in his last race in August, but today's ground and opposition should keep his mind on the job.
Disputed spent the summer with Gordon Elliot in Ireland, running 9 times for him without winning - and if he couldn't win with the horse, then I doubt Chris Gordon is going to find much improvement with him, and he looks highly rated on OR119. Gordon also runs Superciliary but that horse has been off the track some time and would probably prefer softer ground than today. Finally, Lyssio looks outclassed.
I was going to take a look at the handicap chase at 3:50pm, but that race looks a bit tight. There is not much between Chris Pea Green, Workbench or Purple N Gold.. Workbench won this race last season (it was the last race he won) and looked a better horse afterwards when trying trips over 2m4f. His form hasn't looked good enough this summer; so perhaps the likely winner will be either of the other two heading the market. But it looks a race that none can be truly discounted from, so I'm passing it over.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, I'm fairly confidant we should have a wager tomorrow.
So then - the 3:15pm handicap hurdle at Fontwell today, Do we have a wager? As I think the race is just about a "match" between Royal Battalion and Shear Rock, and there isn't much to seperate them on known form at this sort of trip, but ROYAL BATTALION has scope for further improvement (he is, after all, just a 4yo), at the odds I have to go with ROYAL BATTALION on whom you can obtain 11/4 generally, whereas Shear Rock is at odds-on generally at 10/11.
Fontwell 3:15 ROYAL BATTALION, £10 win @ 11/4 (available generally)