Welcome to the World of Horseracing
Since March 2010, this blog has recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.
For the 2016-17 Jumps Season, this blog recorded a LOSS of £40.87
from wagers on 55 individual races (6 winners, 12 placed)
Total Staked = £609.00
Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Today's Bobby Renton Handicap Chase at 3:45pm is run over 2m3f and has attracted 7 runners, headed by the fav Delusionofgrandeur trained locally by Sue Smith, who also runs Straidnahanna in this race. Delutionofgrandeur has won over 2m4f as a novice hurdler, but he's never run over a trip this short as a chaser, in fact his last win was at this track in March over 3-miles. He could do well at this trip, but in my opinion he will be at his best at trips of 3-mile and further. And the same can be said for Straidnahanna who won last season over 3m6f, although he has a good cruising speed and he could get into a good rhythm.
When I looked at this race yesterday afternoon, I was immediately drawn to Monbeg River who ran 4 times last season without winning, but with a lot of promise. Unfortunately, he was brought-down when racing over 2m4f at Aintree in December, and he ended the campaign when racing over today's C&D in January. That was thought to be run on ground too soft for him, and he was beaten 6-lengths into 3rd. A repeat of that effort should see him in the frame, and any improvement will make him hard to beat. The biggest issue for me is that his trainer Martin Todhunter has such a poor strike-rate, and his stats for Wetherby are very poor: just 3 wins from 42 runners in the past 5 years.
Due to the support for Monbeg River, the odds on After Hours have lengthened to 4/1, and this 8yo looks to be on an attractive rating of OR120 considering he improved with every run last season without winning; coming home 2nd in 5 of his last 6 races. He jumps well, runs prominently, and should have no problem with the trip; probably his only issue could be the ground as he "may" want it a bit softer.
The French import Ballotin has his first run for Philip Hobbs, and this is his only runner today - Hobbs has a impressive 28% strike-rate here! Ballotin chased home subsequent Triumph Hurdle winner Peace And Co in June 2014, after which Peace And Co was sold on to Nicky Henderson. Ballotin then chased home Mick Jazz who is now a OR144 hurdler with Gordon Elliot. When chasing in France, Ballotin beat Buttercup who has since moved to Venetia Williams and ran-up a hat-trick of chase wins earlier this year and is now rated OR126. I've no doubt that Ballotin will be fit today and the ground and trip are perfect for him. His rating of OR139 looks a bit steep though, and while his amateur rider will take off 7lb he will need to be at the top of his game in this race.
I like the look of Katgary and he goes very well off a break - a repeat of his run in March (after a 9 month break) when 2nd to San Benedeto would see him hard to beat today - but I have no confidence in his amateur rider Liam Quinlan who has had only 3 rides in the UK in the past 5 seasons, and this is his first for Pauline Robson.
Finally, we have Definite Future who is sent here by trainer Kerry Lee who has only sent 7 runners here in the past 5 seasons from her base in Hereford, and 3 have won. She has also booked jockey Jamie Moore and that suggests they mean business. This trip and ground will be perfect, LTO over 2-miles was too short - and a repeat of his run at Worcester in June off OR132 (he runs off OR137 today) will see him go close. Currently 10/1, DEFINITE FUTURE certainly looks the value in what is a tricky race as while his latest run may have been over an insufficient trip, being only 30 days ago it means he is proven race-fit.
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
The Chepstow meeting is a favourite of trainer Paul Nicholls, and he won the opening hurdle race there of the 2-day meeting with his 4yo Dynamite Dollars, and then followed-up with the mare If You Say Run in the 2nd race on the days card, and he was unlucky to bump into the well-handicapped Silver Streak in the 4yo 2-mile limited handicap otherwise his runner Dolos would have made it 3 wins on the day for the trainer. Silver Streak looks capable of following-up. Evan Williams, trainer of Silver Streak, followed-up with Court Minstrel in the Grade 3 hurdle and this horse seems to have found his mojo this summer and, considering he was competitive off OR157 in 2015-16 this 10yo is worth keeping an eye on in the coming weeks as he is unlikely to go up much from his current Or142 rating.
The feature race at Chepstow on Saturday was the 3-mile Class 2 handicap chase (in which Bigbadjohn unseated his rider). The winner was Rock The Kasbah but I was not particularly impressed as his jockey (champion) Richard Johnson was hard at work a long way out and it was probably only the inexperience of the runner-up Petrou (this was only his 3rd chase race) that denied the useful claimer Bridget Andrews a winning ride. In 3rd was the well-exposed Ballykan, and I've rated this race using him as a yardstick and so I cannot see the winner following up. Petrou however, is another matter, and he was yet another advert for the talent of his trainer Dan Skelton as, since joining him in May (5 months ago) he's won 4 and been runner-up twice from the 7 races he's competed in. He goes onto the alert list, along with the horse that beat him LTO the 7yo Midnight Shot trained by Charlie Longsdon.
On Sunday's card at Chepstow, I was most interested in the Veterans' Handicap Chase over 3-mile and, in these races, I focus on the youngest horses in the race which are the 10yo's. I may be wrong, but I think last season only one Veterans' handicap chase was won by a horse older than 10yo which I think was the 11yo Loose Chips at Ascot in April this year. Sure enough, of the 14 runners on Sunday, 6 were older than 10yo and none of them finished in the 1st-3. The race was won by the 10yo Bob Ford who was having his first run for trainer Alastair Ralph since leaving Rebecca Curtis. The horse was bought by Dr Richard Newland (who is better know as the trainer of Grand National winner Pineau De Re) at the sales in March for £7000 and he clearly thought there was money to be won with him as he last won in December 2015. I overlooked him for the race on Sunday as - despite his rating having slipped from OR142 to OR122 - all his previous winning form had been on heavy ground and I thought the "good" ground at Chepstow would be too quick for him. Although he is reported as opening in the betting at 8/1, you can take it from me that at 11am on Sunday morning Bob Ford was available at 18/1. As such, the gamble on him to an SP of 5/1 was phenomenal and he must have easily repaid his purchase price in winnings from the ring. This gives a valuable lesson in gambling on the jumps: if you know your horse (selection) is fit and well, stays the trip and is well handicapped, then you can bet with confidence.
Saturday, 14 October 2017
For once, I've had a cracking flat season, thanks mainly to my share in the Cribbs Causeway syndicate. Five wins, yes 5 wins, this season - can't be bad.
Two years ago on this day I posted a couple of selections and advised a couple of single wagers and a double - and they both came in. There's little chance of that happening again as there is only one decent betting race and that's the 3-mile Class 2 handicap chase at 4:45pm. There are 14 runners as I write, and the ground is Good-to-Soft.
The early fav is Rock The Kasbah (3/1) who won over C&D in February and showed that was no fluke (his usual trip being 2m5f) when running 2nd at Uttoxeter NTO. He won on this card last season, and he looks a worthy fav. I selected Label Des Obeaux (8/1) hen he ran at the Cheltenham Festival in the opening days handicap chase. He didn't seem to enjoy Cheltenham and, when next out at Ayr, he demonstrated his ability with a win over 3-miles. If he comes here in similar form he will take all the beating as he looks ahead of the handicapper over even with an 8lb adjustment to OR154. Sizing Codelco (8/1) ended the season with a couple of wins in top handicap chases and starts this season on OR160; and I just cannot see him being able to win off that rating - if he does he will put himself into the Cheltenham Gold Cup picture. For instance, Potters Legend (13/2) meets Sizing Codelco on 22lb better terms than when they met at Aintree in April. Potters Legend went into that race as the 9/2 fav and this trip and ground will suit him, and he goes well fresh too. I can see him running a big race, but will he be good enough to win? We are waiting for Venetia Williams first winner of the season, and I cannot see it being Marcilhac (16/1). And this 3-mile trip is probably too much for Indian Stream (20/1) who is best at 2m5f. An interesting runner is Bigbadjohn (16/1 generally) as he a couple of good races last season on ground softer than he'd like, and I'm happy to ignore his run at Cheltenham. He stays 3-mile, usually runs prominently and with just 6 chase runs is relatively unexposed. His rating of OR144 looks reasonable and odds of 18/1 (Coral and BetVictor) look generous. Ballykan (9/1) is well exposed, and Boa Island will need a career-best to be involved. Minellacelebration (20/1) was going well when brought-down LTO and is another that can go well, as is Henryville (25/1). The remaining pair of Relentless Dreamer (12/1) and Junction Fourteen (20/1) would require a complete reverse of recent fortune to succeed. Whereas Petrou (20/1) does not have the experience to win a race as competitive, if he does he's very decent.
Rebecca Curtis won this race last year and BIGBADJOHN looks well-placed to run a cracker, although the odds about several look decent. It could be a very competitive race and in such cases I think it's best to take a punt on one at long odds.
I'm taking a break from writing a regular blog, but I will be having a few quid on BIGBADJOHN as I thought he'd be half his current odds and it would not surprise me to see him start this race at 8/1. I think the fav Rock The Kasbah can be opposed as although consistent last season, he didn't show any improvement from his debut chase to his final run in the Bet365 Chase at Sandown; as such, he looks vulnerable.
Monday, 9 October 2017
Close friends, relations, and close horse-racing contacts will know that I've been part of the syndicate (managed by Nick Bradley) behind the 3yo filly CRIBBS CAUSEWAY. On Saturday at the end of a busy Newmarket card, she won the EBF Breeders' Fillies' Series Handicap (Class 2) over 1m4f - and she didn't just win it, she won with a tonne in hand. Her jockey on Saturday was non other than Frankie Dettori and, having hit the front 3-furlongs out, he dropped his "whip" just after passing the 2-furlong marker and it was a hands'n'heels ride from there on. Click on the link above to watch the official video of the race.
This was a tremendous performance, her best yet by a long way, and we are confident that there is more to come and she stays in training for 2018. What a year 2017 has been - 5 wins, £62,000 in prize-money, and progressing from OR62 to OR90 (maybe OR95 after the handicapper has rated Saturdays win).
When I was first sent the details of Cribbs Causeway in July 2016, it took me under an hour to make the decision to join the syndicate. The bloodline was there, as the dam Bristol Fashion is a half-sister to Midas Touch (5th in the Derby, and runner-up in the Irish Derby and St Leger). At the time (July 2016) I was unaware that Bristol Fashion was also half-sister to the filly Coronet who this season has won the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot over 1m4f, and then chased home super-filly Enable in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks.
Cribbs Causeway was the 1st-foal of Bristol Fashion, who was unraced due to her being very tall (according to Nick Bradley) so there was some risk attached. However, I took into account the dam-side bloodline and also that the sire Rip Van Winkle was sired by champion sire Galileo, who traces back through champion sire Sadlers Wells who, in turn, was sired by the great Northern Dancer. Personally, I think the sire Rip Van Winkle is under-rated as his stock seem to be later developers and despite having most success on the course as a miler, his stock do well beyond 10-furlongs.
You can have the right horse, but without the right treatment you will not see the best performance so, credit where credit is due, Roger Charlton and his team at Beckhampton deserve the fullest praise. Fingers crossed, our good fortune will continue into the next year, and I cannot describe the euphoria experienced by myself and the other syndicate members on Saturday afternoon - this is what we all dream of when we join a horse-racing syndicate.
Thursday, 5 October 2017
Just 7 horses go to post for this race yet it looks difficult to fathom as, at this stage of the season, fitness can be the most important factor.
Top-weight is the 9yo Sego Success who we know stays this trip well and he usually runs a good race on his seasonal debut, but he does also improve for the run. What is in his favour is that he's dropped to OR136 having not won in 5 races last season, and on that mark he should be competitive. The 6yo Ballycross could be a big improver this season, but he had his chances last season to impress and didn't take them. Based on that form I think he's fairly handicapped on OR133 and will need to find improvement today to win, and he won't be racing on his preferred soft ground. As such, although he has youth on his side, his odds of 3/1 do not represent value in my opinion.
The horse I like the look of in this race is SHANROE SANTOS, who is a lightly raced 8yo - he only came to trainer Lucy Wadham as a 6yo in January 2015 from the point-to-point sphere - as he was off the track from April 2015 to November 2016. He took a few races to get fit and learn his new trade of chasing, but it all came together in the February when he won over C&D. He then won again at Sandown the next month off OR126 before possibly a long season took it's toll when he was beaten some way in a Class 2 handicap chase at Haydock in April. If he can repeat his Sandown form-level today then he will take a lot of beating off OR129 and odds of 4/1 look fair value.
There is a 3m1f hurdle race at Huntingdon at 3:05pm, but there is little to be confident about with many of the runners. The fav Air Squadron basically won a "match" against a non-stayer LTO and his stamina is unproven in my book. The 2nd-fav Dreamsoftheatre returns to hurdling for the first time in 4 years, and supporters are banking on his hurdling ability being better than his recent chase form. There has been a sustained gamble on Generous Chief all morning - he opened at 14/1 - and his current odds are 9/1; he could be the answer as he stays the trip well, and handles right-handed Huntingdon. The value has possibly gone as - if Air Squadron is a true stayer then he could take some beating - but he's worth a punt on the place-only market on the exchanges.
Monday, 2 October 2017
The "Arc" draws a curtain on the flat season and now it is "all systems go" on the jumps! There are meetings this afternoon (Monday 2nd October) at Newton Abbot and Stratford; Tuesday brings meetings at Sedgefield and Southwell; and on Wednesday there's a meeting at Bangor.
We also had a strong meeting at Market Rasen on Saturday with Ballybolley winning the 2m5f "Listed" Chase. This horse has always looked a potential 140+ chaser, but never seemed to fulfil that potential. However, his repeat win in the Haydock "Middle Distance Chase Series Final" last April confirmed that trips around 20-21f are his forte. He's run over further, but I don't think he's as good beyond 2m6f. Guitar Pete was well fancied for the race and ran well to be 2nd, and the race-fit Poker School (who I expected to run well) came in 5th to frank the form. I reckon the 1st-3 home (Master Dee was 3rd) can all be followed in the coming months.
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
The antepost markets have been overlooked in recent seasons, but I think that is more to do with the attitude of today's gamblers than a change in how the sport is being campaigned by owners, trainers and bookmakers. The "modern" person of today wants a quick hit, instant satisfaction. The prospect of placing a wager and then waiting weeks, if not months, for the event is not something that the new breed of gamblers seems to want. I may be wrong, and I hope I am (please enlighten me if I am). What I want to show through this blog is that there is still the capability to build a portfolio of "antepost" wagers that will result in a good profit. What I also want to (hopefully) demonstrate is that by playing a long-game, the punter can build-up a distinct knowledge of the horses competing in certain races and so place wagers in greater certainty. I've had some success in recent seasons with antepost wagers, most notably Coneygree in the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup (I advised taking the 12/1 available on 9th February 2015 - 5 weeks before the race), and with Cue Card in the 2013 Ryanair Chase (I advised taking the 5/1 available on 16th February 2013). I've also had more than a few losers, but I will be trying to avoid those this season.
Putting together an antepost strategy, the initial priority is avoiding wasted wagers - placing precious stake-money on horses that never start the race has to be avoided. So, at this stage of the season, the target races are going to be the "championship" Grade 1 races. In terms of the Cheltenham Festival, that is the Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Cheltenham Gold Cup, and the "Stayers" Hurdle. I'm going to ignore the Ryanair Chase until after Christmas when we will have a better idea of which horses are more likely to compete in the Ryanair. Outside of the Cheltenham Festival, I will be considering races like the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day; the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November; and also handicap races if the opportunity arises.
The Betfair Chase on 25th November is the first of these championship races to be run, and the market is currently headed by Sizing John who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup last March. Since joining Mrs Harrington, Sizing John has found a new level of consistency but I don't think he's shown yet that he is significantly superior to other staying chasers to warrant being the 2/1 fav for the Betfair Chase at this time. You also have to take into consideration the fact the Mrs Harrington very rarely sends horses to race in the UK outside of the Cheltenham Festival. It's my view that Sizing John won't line-up for the Betfair Chase. Last year's winner Cue Card is now an 11yo, but he has won the Betfair Chase for 3 of the last 4 years, his only defeat in the race being in 2014 when his trainer said he was suffering (at the time) from a back problem. Kauto Star won the Betfair Chase as an 11yo, and Kauto Star had also won the Betfair Chase three times prior to that win, so the "omens" are there. His stablemate Thistlecrack would appear to have a better chance. He beat Cue Card fair & square in the King George VI Chase at Kempton and, if he were able to repeat his run when just beaten by Many Clouds in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on 28th January, that would be good enough in my opinion. However, his trainer may be aiming him for the King George VI Chase again. The current 2nd-fav at 9/2 in the betting is Might Bite but, for me, the jury is still out on this one's ability. Sure, he is a good chaser but I don't expect his trainer Nicky Henderson will send him straight to Haydock for this race. I reckon we will see Might Bite run in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby first and, depending on his run in that, we will see if he goes for the Betfair Chase.
Other horses in the betting with odds under 20/1 are Bristol De Mai, Tea For Two and Whisper but, to be fair, none of those look remotely capable of winning a Betfair Chase. The way Minella Rocco ran in the Cheltenham Gold Cup to be 2nd would really see him amongst the market leaders if the early-season form of his trainer Jonjo O'Neill was stronger but, invariably, Jonjo's top chasers are brought into the season slowly with the focus being on the Cheltenham Festival.
There are two others in the race who are very capable of winning a Betfair Chase, Coneygree and Native River. I am going to look at the latter horse first, and Native River had a tremendous season last year winning both the Hennessey Gold Cup (now re-named the Ladbrokes Gold Cup) and the Welsh National. He "only" carried 11st 1lb in the Hennessey last year when running off a rating of OR155 and, with a rating of OR166 now, he will almost certainly carry 11st 10lb if he returns to Newbury, and I cannot see that happening. For me, the Betfair Chase over 3-mile at Haydock is tailor-made for the horse. He has everything you want, and he will only be a 7yo (which makes him a year younger than the 2nd-season chaser Might Bite). Current odds of 20/1 look huge to me as, should he line-up for this race (and there's no good reason to say he wont) he will have odds under 6/1 and he may even start the fav.
Coneygree ran in last years Betfair Chase starting at odds of 2/1 when returning from a year off the track through injury. He ran bravely but, ultimately, lack of race fitness told and he threw-in the towel with 2 fences to jump. He then ran a stormer at Punchestown (he missed the Cheltenham Gold Cup) when relishing the good ground. I would not be too worried if the ground is soft at Haydock (it usually is in November) as Coneygree won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on soft ground, but if the ground is heavy then that will not be to his advantage. He has been prepared to run in the Kerry National, so fitness should not be a problem this year. Paddy Power go 10/1 about Coneygree (he's 7/1 elsewhere) but, compared with the 20/1 available about NATIVE RIVER, finding the value in the Betfair Chase market is a no-brainer.
25th November - Betfair Chase - NATIVE RIVER £10 win @ 20/1
(odds available with Skybet, BetVictor and Paddy Power)
Thursday, 7 September 2017
Wednesday, 24 May 2017
My opinion is that betting in general on horse-racing is becoming tougher mainly due to the expansion of rating services which is chiselling the "edge" away from old hands like me. Horses which used to go off at 10/1 are now running with an SP of under 5/1 - what that means is that the "risk" factor is being reduced.
To explain, I generally try and operate on a winner from every 5 wagers (20% strike rate), so to break-even my winners have to have odds of 4/1. To make a profit, my selections have to have average odds of 9/2 or longer. After building-in "margin" (about 2pts) and risk of the unexpected (another point), I'm looking for wagers at odds of 8/1 or longer on horses that I consider to have a chance on my odds-line of 4/1 or shorter. Those opportunities are getting fewer, and I am looking at ways of overcoming the situation.
I've been reading a book called "Against The Odds - the remarkable story of risk" by Peter Bernstein. It confirms what I had already concluded myself (although I do not consider myself a scholar or professor) that knowledge of risk is understood by very few. I have made note of a passage which summarises the 1992 paper (by Kahneman and Tversky) titled "Prospect Theory": "Theories of choice are, at best, approximate and incomplete... Choice is a constructive and contingent process. When faced with a complex problem (ie. horseracing) people use computational shortcuts and editing operations." Since 1494, when Luca Paccioli set out the basics of algebra in his book Summa de arithmetic, geometria et proportionalita, mathematicians have tried to ascertain how to measure risk as a formula and, essentially, all have failed - although in the intervening years each advance in risk management has brought a greater understanding of risk and its complexities. What reading this book has confirmed to me is that few people understand what risk is, so if you don't understand it how can you value it? However, if you are to make a long-term profit from gambling on horseracing then you must at least make due allowance for risk in the structure of how you wager. Right now, I don't think enough people take risk into account when placing a wager, and so they accept odds that do not accommodate a reasonable element of risk. It is not good enough just to bet on the winner of a race if the odds do not accommodate risk and offer the punter "value" - unless you are capable of finding winners at a very high strike-rate; and by high I mean over 40% of all wagers must win. If you do not accommodate risk within your odds assessment, then you will lose in the long run.
What this has led me to consider is that with high a turnover of wagers, shortcuts have to be taken and, in taking shortcuts, you end up making decisions with incomplete or approximate information. As such, I will be intending to reduce the number of wagers I make in the coming 12 months to enable me to take as much information into account as possible. With a reduced number of wagers, there needs to be a corresponding increase in the stake applied. Some years ago, I suggested that in order for wagers to have significance they should be at a level at which losing would "hurt". I took this from the memoirs of Sir Clement Freud and, at the time, I suggested the wager amount should be a days wage. This produced a fair amount of comment back then, and I expect it will do the same again. As a freelance consultant in construction, I know what my daily rate is but, if you don't and you are on a salary then you have to divide your salary by 230 which is approximately the number of days a typical person works in a year. You can do this in your head by dividing your salary by 100 (if your salary is £40,000 divide by 100 equals £400), then halve that number (half of £400 is £200) and taking off another 10% (that is 10% of £200 which is £20), so £180 is a days wage for someone on £40,000pa.
I will be trialling this approach over the coming weeks, and the Royal Ascot meeting will provide several suitable races. I will be using every tool in my betting armoury to make a profit including laying-off my stake before the off should the odds provide the opportunity.
Post-blog notes: some differing responses via twitter with one suggestion being to give up betting on horseracing altogether, and another suggesting I increase the number of wagers and reduce the stake rather than reduce them and increase the stake. I have tried that latter suggestion before privately, but that is akin to adopting horseracing betting as a full-time occupation. This blog is essentially to provide readers with entertainment and information that will (hopefully) provide a profit.
Friday, 14 April 2017
I need to update the profit & loss scenario for advised wagers on the blog, but I'm putting it off as it probably won't be good reading. I think, or perhaps I know, what the problem for me has been this season, and that is time - or (rather) the lack of it.
The way horse-racing is developing now into a season fixated on the Cheltenham Festival - and that has been made very evident by the lack of competition for some of the Grade 1 races at last weeks Aintree "Grand National" meeting - is that horses are being prepared slowly and you cannot know just when they will be at their peak.
A perfect example of this is Saphir Du Rheu who I advised a wager on for the 2m5f chase at Cheltenham on 28th January. The ground that day was soft, which was perfect for the horse as he'd won the Lanzarote Hurdle a Class 1 "Listed" handicap on soft, and the Grade 2 "Cleeve" Hurdle at this meeting in January 2015. His worst ever run on soft ground had been over an inadequate 2-mile when a novice hurdler. The 2m5f trip was also suitable as he'd won all 4 of his completed races at a similar trip (only failure was unseating his rider in a novice chase won by Coneygree). He should have been race-fit as he'd run 3rd at Ascot in October over 3-mile and he'd fallen early-on in the Hennessy Gold Cup so, all-in-all he should have started the short-priced fav for this race and not had an SP of 6/1 when running off OR153 - especially when you consider his good performance in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month which has resulted in his Official Rating being raised to OR162.
Instead, he was given a "gentle" ride by his jockey and only started racing "proper" after the 3rd last fence by which time the eventual winner opened-up at least a 12-length lead. Sure, Saphir Du Rheu managed to peg-back the leader, and some may be wanting to describe this as an ill-judged ride. However, the horse was so tenderly ridden until the 3rd-last fence that I think his trainer was ensuring he still had something to work with for Cheltenham. Remember, when he won the "Cleeve" Hurdle in 2015, he went to Cheltenham as the 5/1 fav for the Grade 1 "World" Hurdle over 3-miles and came home 2nd beaten by Cole Harden - a horse who has not won again since - so it's possible that trainer Paul Nicholls wanted to get plenty of work into this horse in preparation for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Some will read this and say I'm just griping and that there are always hard-luck stories - that is the nature of placing wagers on horse-racing. And there is an element of that in this post, but I need to cleanse - draw a line under this jumps season and put it behind me. Writing this post is one of the steps that forms part of that process. The next will be formulating a way forward, and then finding a way of putting that into practise. What I do know is that what I've been doing this season while being good, just isn't good enough. Coming 2nd is not the same as winning.
Saturday, 8 April 2017
Friday, 7 April 2017
Thursday, 6 April 2017
Wednesday, 5 April 2017
This Saturday we have the most famous horse-race in the World taking place at Aintree, the Grand National. As I grew-up within a few miles of the track and regularly went past the course on the bus into Liverpool, the course and the race are a special place.
Friday, 17 March 2017
Thursday, 16 March 2017
The day opens with the 7th running of this championship race for novice chasers.
· All 6 previous winners have been rated (at one time) at OR142 or better as hurdlers, thus meeting the same criteria of “Arkle” winners in being above-average hurdlers..
- All 6 previous winners contested a hurdle at the previous year’s Cheltenham Festival.
Stick with LTO winners (although last year’s winner Black Hercules was a faller LTO) and as this is a tough 2m4f, the selection should have proven stamina over this trip but not a win over trips in excess of 2m6f – that is a negative in my opinion.
· 17 of last 24 winners carried between 10st 7lb and 11st 3lb;
· 12 of the last 25 winners won LTO.
A difficult race, however the 6yo SUTTON MANOR has only run 6 times and never finished worse than 4th. He was 2nd in the qualifier in Ireland on 5th Feb, then won LTO on 23rd Feb. Trained by Gordon Elliot, he could have any amount of improvement left in him and early odds of 25/1 look mighty interesting.
· Winning course form at Cheltenham – 11 of the 12 winners previous winners had won at Cheltenham (Riverside Theatre in 2012 was the exception).
· Winning form in a Grade 1 chase – 8 of the last 9 winners (since the Ryanair became a Grade 1 chase) had previously won a Grade 1 chase (Imperial Commander in 2009 was the only exception).
This race hangs on whether Un De Sceaux can stay the trip as he has only raced around this trip in France. The 2nd-fav Empire Of Dirt won over C&D last year in the Novice handicap, but needs to find at least 7lb to match the fav. Uxizandre won this race in 2015 and has been off since then with injury returning to chase home the fav over 2-mile here in January. If he could find another 7lb of improvement then he has a chance. I cannot see Sub Lieutenant winning, and I am more interested in JOSSES HILL who if repeating his latest winning effort (ignore his King George run) may not be far away. Odds of 9/1 look eachway value for a stable we know will have him fit to run to his best.
It is very likely that the winner will have run at last year’s Cheltenham Festival;·
4:10pm Festival Plate Handicap Chase (2-mile & 4½-furlongs)
· 20 of the last 24 winners carried under 11st;
· 21 of the last 24 winners were rated between OR128 – OR141;
· Irish trainers have only won this race twice (Empire Of Dirt won it for Ireland last year) since 1951.
If you look only at those rated at OR141 or below then you omit all those carrying 10st10lb or more, which leaves 11 of the 24. Take out those who last ran more than 39 days ago, and that drops to just 6 horses; Ballykan, Rock Gone, Champagne At Tara, Mad Jack Mytton, Katachenko, and Thomas Crapper. Of those, I prefer CHAMPAGNE AT TARA a LTO winner who is at 25/1.
4:50pm Mares’ Novices Hurdle (2m & 179 yards)
· Only 6 of the last 37 winners was a 7yo;
· There has been 2 Irish-trained winners in past 3 years (after a break of 31 years).