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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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advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Oh so close - pipped at the post

Saturday was a cracking day for me at Cheltenham.  
Due to time constraints I was unable to post a blog on Saturday morning and, with plenty of overnight rain, it wasn't possible to make an assessment of the form before the day as I expected a fair few non-runners and the ground could have varied from good-to-Soft to Heavy.  In the end, the ground was declared soft for the 1st race and heavy for the remainder of the card, but it looked more soft (heavy patches) to me. 
In Friday's blog, I made an early selection for the Skybet Handicap Chase run over 3-mile run at Doncaster. That selection was WARRIORS TALE trained by Paul Nicholls who I thought was under-rated by the handicapper following his tremendous run LTO at Newbury when just pipped by Gold Present - who then went on to win over 3-mile at Ascot on 23rd December beating Frodon (also trained by Paul Nicholls). I'd advised taking the 14/1 generally available, but there was 16/1 available (for a short time) from Paddy Power.
Back to Cheltenham, and there I met my old mate Alan and we conspired our assault on the bookies over a pint of Guinness in the Cottage Rake bar. 
Having already assessed the form for the Skybet Chase and noted that Frodon had been entered for that race but then aimed at the 2m5f Grade 3 handicap chase at Cheltenham, the horse was at the forefront of my mind. I remembered the way Frodon had powered up the Cheltenham hill on soft ground just 13 months ago to win a Grade 3 handicap chase over C&D off a rating of OR149 - and here he was again over the same C&D and on similar ground with a rating only 5lb higher (OR154) and yet with the benefit of talented 5lb claimer Bryony Frost.  If that hadn't made up my mind, a glance at the formbook showed me that the ONLY horses that had beaten him in his previous 3 races since 12th November were Might Bite, Top Notch, Double Shuffle and Gold Present and he'd been awarded a 160-162 rating by the Racing Post for those last 3 races.  So long as he could repeat that form he had an excellent chance and didn't he do just that!
Full marks to Bryony Frost, she sits very easily on a horse and Frodon must have barely noticed she was in the saddle. When she asked for an effort, Frodon responded immediately and put the race to bed. The top of the 2m4f-2m5f division is very tough now and while this performance was well above 160, talk of having a chance in the Ryanair is way off in my opinion unless 1 or 2 of the markets leaders go for alternative targets. 
With that win under my belt, I was very confident about the chance of Warriors Tale at Doncaster as the formline via Gold Present now looks very strong.  However before that there was the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham to be run. Most of the 8 runners could be discounted (outclassed) and I thought the race was between the fav Bristol De Mai, and Definitly Red who was the early 2nd-fav but had been replaced in that position by American for whom there had been a significant gamble.  I did not consider that the form of American was strong enough, as the form hung on just how good was his win at Uttoxeter last March in a 3-mile Class 2 handicap chase. He was raised 9lb for that win to OR157 but I thought even that was too rich as the race fell apart in the last half-mile as Rock The Kasbah (2nd) is possibly best at 2m6f, as is Crosspark (3rd).  Bristol De Mai was comprehensively beaten in the Gold Cup last March which made me doubt whether Cheltenham suited the horse, but also the Twiston-Davies stable does not seem to be firing at 100%. The stable has only had one winner (The New One) from 25 runners in the past 14-days. That left me with Definitly Red and despite a few poor jumps on the 2nd-circuit, he stayed on well and won with authority.  Is he a Gold Cup horse? Well (on my ratings) if he had run to that level in the race last March he would have been 2nd - so he is a worthy eachway wager at current odds of 20/1, but the worry is that his best form is on soft-heavy ground, and it will (likely) be good-to-soft in March for the Gold Cup.
My confidence was up and I was bouncing when I went to watch the Skybet Chase on the tv at the course bookmakers room.  My selection Warriors Tale was given a cracking ride, no complaints on that score, and when he looked to have beaten off Wakanda before jumping the final fence, I thought he'd have enough in the tank to stay-on and take the race. However, that old battler Wakanda came back on the run-in and managed to get his head in front on the line.  I was oh so close to tipping a 14/1 winner! Afterwards, I thought that had the jockeys been switched and had Bryony Frost with her 5lb claim been on Warriors Tale, and Sean Bowen been on Frodon (who won by 17-lengths and had no need of the 5lb jockeys claim) it would have resulted in a tremendous across-the-card double for the Nicholls stable.
The heavy ground continues today at both meetings at Plumpton and Hereford, so be careful with selections and stakes. Of the days racing, I will be taking a small interest in a couple of "old-boys" at Hereford in Regal Flow (3:40pm) and Opening Batsmen (4:40pm) who both look reasonable value at this mornings odds.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Masterplan the weekend

Looking at today's racing on the train on to the way into the office this morning, there looked by be very little in the way of value at the two meetings at Doncaster and Huntington, and it may well be a day for fav's winning. As you may tell from the blog title, I was hoping for some decent odds about MASTERPLAN at Huntingdon in the Class 3 handicap chase over 2m4f at 2:40pm as the expected fav Pougne Bobbi looks a bit dodgy. unfortunately, the best odds available are 9/4 and to be fair I was hoping for longer than 11/4.
The next race on the Huntingdon card is the Class 2, 3-mile handicap hurdle and so long as the Nicky Henderson trained Protek Des Flos stays this trip - and he should - then it is difficult to see one that may beat him. This horse is Barry Geraghty's only ride here today. For the money and grade, the race lacks a bit of depth and the consistent and proven stayer on the ground Arthurs Gift may be best for a "place-only" wager or betting without the fav. It's possible that Easter Day may run the best of the rest as he's having his first run form trainer Oliver Sherwood but it all depends on how fit his is as he's not run since last May. 
Doncaster is interesting as Nicky Henderson has only one runner there - and he has a tremendous strike-rate at Doncaster - and that's CRACKING DESTINY in the Class 5 Maiden Hurdle race at 1:25pm. Not only that, but he's sent Nico De Boinville there for the ride (his only one of the day) so that suggests to me that they mean business. If you are happy taking the 11/4 on offer about a horse that's having his hurdling debut, then you have a lot of ticks in the boxes with this one.
There are only 4 runners in the 3-mile Novice Chase at 1:55pm and I think it may be worth taking on the odds-on fav in this race with Wotzizname as Harry Fry has won with 6 of his 10 runners in chase races at Doncaster in recent years, and this is his only runner at Doncaster today. He didn't do well at Cheltenham LTO, but that looked a tough race to me for this novice, and he could well recoup losses today.
The 3-mile chase at 3:05pm will be run over C&D for the Skybet Chase tomorrow, and there are several in this race that catch my eye.  Capard King seems to have "bottomed-out" having been rated OR139 2 years ago, and if he can build on his run LTO (ran 3rd here over 3m2f) he could be interesting off OR118 as he's still only a 9yo. All eye's will be on Bako De La Saulaie as this lightly raced 7yo holds plenty of potential as a chaser but this will be only his 2nd chase race, it may be he still needs the experience and his odds of 7/2 hold no interest to me.  The other horse I like is Captain Mowbray who has looked an improved horse over 3-mile.  Overall, I will be watching this race rather than punting on it.
Earlier this week, the Racing Post were good enough to provide the form for the Skybet Handicap Chase to be run at Doncaster at 3:15pm tomorrow, and one horse jumped out at me when I read the form - WARRIORS TALE. His run LTO at Newbury when beaten a neck by Gold Present looks very good form now as that horse won at Ascot NTO and is now rated 13lb higher on OR155.  Warriors Tale is racing off OR147 which is just 4lb higher than when he met Gold Present at Newbury. The horse handles soft ground, should stay this trip as he's won over 3-mile before and trainer Paul Nicholls has pulled out one of the early market leaders in Frodon (that horse goes to Cheltenham) and relies on Warriors Tale.  I'm on at 14/1 eachway (£5 each way, £10 win).

I'm attending Cheltenham tomorrow, so there may not be a blog on Saturday.  If there is I will post a link on twitter.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Catterick survives the wet weather

There were two meetings planned today at Catterick and Exeter, but Exeter was lost after a further rainstorm overnight left part of the course water-logged and a planned 8am inspection was cancelled as the Clerk of the Course thought it would be a wasted exercise.  This is a big problem for jump racing as losing opportunities to race - and earn prize money - are reduced when meetings are abandoned due to wet weather.  With the "rumours" this week that FOBT's are expected to be limited to a minimum stake of £2 in the Government review, and that the estimated "hit" on racing from such a limit could be in-excess of a £50 million-a-year reduction in the tariff - which would come straight off prize-money - it seems to me that the BHA and horseracing in general needs to start thinking about bringing the sport into this century.

I've thought for a long-time now (I will do a search of my blog as I'm sure I've written about this before since March 2010) that racing will develop into a two-tier sport in the UK, with maybe 12-18 Grade 1 courses, and the remainder "Grade 2" with those in the lower grade being able to stage meetings outside the organised racing calendar but having little or no support from the BHA in terms of prize money or sponsorship.  The focus for the BHA will be on the 12-18 Grade 1 courses, and that's where all their prize-money will go.

The advised selections on Saturday managed to "break-even" with no loss suffered on the advice.  Personally, I thought GUITAR PETE ran poorly and he didn't look like he was going to trouble the eventual winner before he made an error about half-way in the race and lost his rider.  My other selection CAPTAIN REDBEARD ran a cracker.  After I posted my blog, the horse took a walk in the markets and there was some 16/1 and 18/1 available before money started to come-in for him and he eventually started with an SP of 12/1 which was the odds at which I'd advised him at. Given he was a course winner, a winner on heavy ground, and he was proven at the trip, plus he likes to race prominently, I'm surprised he wasn't at odds under 10/1 as most of the field for his race didn't have as many ticks as he did.  For a brief period as they entered the straight I thought he had a chance of winning, but the eventual winner THE DUTCHMAN was not stopping. There had been a bit of a gamble on the winner who I hadn't considered at all as he hadn't looked a 3-mile chaser with his previous trainer Sandy Thomson and since moving to Colin Tizzard he'd only raced over hurdles.  However, his hurdling form was improved over what he'd shown so he was possibly a better horse going into the race than the one that came 2nd at odds-on at Musselburgh over 2m4f in March when he last ran in a chase race.

Back to Catterick, and there is some interesting racing there but the quality and competitiveness of the racing is too low to consider advising a wager. But, if you are interested, I'm having small wagers on PINCH OF GINGER in the 1:55pm as Don McCain has his stable going well and although this is a longer trip than that over which he raced LTO, he is a horse in form.  Then at 2:30pm I will have an interest in JIMMY BREEKIE who comes over from Ireland.  It may only be for place money as the fav for the race looks strong, but you can never tell in these heavy ground conditions. 

This Saturday, it is very likely that I will be at Cheltenham for the "trials" day. So, it is also likely that I will not be posting a blog on Saturday morning.  If I am able to post some brief notes on Friday afternoon then I will do. 

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock

It's been a tricky week for following the horses, but all came good yesterday at Chepstow.  I didn't write a blog as my early thoughts were that the racing looked too tough (and I had a busy morning of meetings at the office that stopped me posting a blog).  However, the form worked out well and I ended up having progressively larger wagers on the fav's at Chepstow which all won - yes, every race at Chepstow yesterday was won by the fav. When I read the Racing Post yesterday I could not see anything opposing BECAUSESHESAIDSO in the final race on the card and expected the horse to start at under 2/1 - so the early 6/1 was very welcome and appreciated when the horse eventually won by 14-lengths.

Saturday brings us 3 meetings at Haydock, Ascot and Taunton with soft or very heavy ground at all 3 meetings and as I write there have already been a host of non-runners declared.  The Bet365 Chase over 2m5f at Ascot at 3:00pm is an interesting race. The early fav for this 6-runner race is Acting Lass who has won both of his chase starts, and he races off OR143 which means he's giving 4lb to Guitar Pete who we know is a proven chaser who will handle the ground and he looks at his best now with trainer Nicky Richards. Robinshill will likely not stay this trip on this ground, and Kilcrea Vale would be of interest if he could recapture his form of last season but, again. One who could be a big player is Fortunate George who won here at Ascot in November over 2m5f, but made an early error here LTO over 3-mile which essentially took him out of the race. If he jumps well early-on he could be thereabouts as he has no stamina doubts and should  handle the ground. Finally, Minella Daddy returns from a 390-day break and we just don't know how fit he will be. At the odds, the 3/1 available on GUITAR PETE looks value to me as I'm surprised he's not the fav for this race.

The meeting at Haydock looks particularly tricky as when it's heavy ground there you know the racing will be tough - and watching the weather forecast on the tv, there cold be snow at Haydock this afternoon!  The feature race is the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase over almost 3m2f (at 3:15pm) and the fav is Hainan who won here on heavy ground LTO over 3m4f but only 4 horses finished that race which makes it difficult to rate and I think he has to prove he's up to OR140. Rock The Kasbah has to prove he can handle this ground as he was beaten on similar as a hurdler when odds-on. Tintern Theatre looks an out & out staying chaser and so why didn't he race over 3-mile as a hurdler? Yala Enki will ensure the race is a stamina test but he looks weighted to his best on OR147.  Walk In The Mill was beaten fair'n'square LTO so will heavy ground suit him better? It could be worth having a punt on a longshot, and Captain Redbeard won the Tommy Whittle Chase LTO here in December and is up 9lb for that win but he does run this course well and he's 12/1. Knockanrawley could be thereabouts if he's been slow coming to fitness this season, but he had every chance to show his best LTO.  For me, it's an eachway wager on CAPTAIN REDBEARD at 12/1 (quarter-odds 1,2,3 with Bet365).

That's my 2 for the day:-
Ascot 3:00 GUITAR PETE - £10 win @ 3/1 (available generally)
Haydock 3:15 CAPTAIN REDBEARD - £5 eachway @ 12/1 (Bet365)

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Lower the grade, higher the risk

One of the problems with weekday wagers on horseracing is that lower grades have a higher risk due to the imponderables of lower consistency of performance, inexperience, and lack of decent form-lines. Last week, I did quite well with my personal wagers (I usually have a small wager every day, more often than not it will be a place-only wager) and made a profit on 5 of the 6 days - I don't usually bet on a Sunday. This week, luck hasn't been going my way and on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I've lost, thankfully it has only been small amounts. 
Take yesterday as an example.
After reading the form on the train on the way into the office (I've given up taking the laptop on the train as the wifi and mobile signal from my phone is too weak and reception is sporadic - 5 years ago (before 4G) the signal was excellent - what's happened?) with the Racing Post paper coming into its own and the most technological tool used being my highlighter pen (orange), I narrowed down a few likely wagers. There were 2 place-only and one potential "win" wagers. The first to run was at Market Rasen in the 2m7f handicap hurdle at 1:00pm which was a Class 4 race and in the morning there were 12 runners with the early fav One Of Us the most likely winner as I could not find anything to oppose him with. As such, I was on the hunt for a place-only opportunity especially as the exchanges were offering a market for 4 places on the race. I decided MOIDORE had a decent chance of being in the 1st-4: only runner of trainer Charles Pogson who has a decent strike-rate at Market Rasen with hurdlers, the horse was a C&D winner and a winner over the trip on heavy ground after which he was rated OR134 in June 2016 and he'd spent much of 2017 running in Class 3 races. As a consequence, his rating had slipped to OR108 and after a break he'd run well over 2m7f on his return in November LTO.  I thought the race had little depth to it and when the early fav One Of Us was declared a non-runner I was really surprised that the odds on the horse "place-only" to 4-places was 3.10 or 2/1. Sure enough, the horse was going well being covered-up at the rear of the closely packed field, and looked untroubled by the pace of the race and, as they went into the final circuit, the in-running odds for a 1st-4 place went odds-on.  At that point, disaster struck, as the horse bundled-through the 8th flight (of the 11 to be jumped) and un-shipped his jockey! The way the race panned-out I have doubts that MOIDORE would have won, but I feel almost certain he'd have been in the 1st-4, if not the 1st-3, had he not made that jumping error. 
Just twenty minutes later, my 2nd wager of the day ran at Newbury, the Nicky Henderson trained PERCY STREET.  The horse had run 6th (off 22) in the Grade 3 "Fred Winter" Juvenile 2-mile handicap hurdle off OR124.  After a few disappointing runs he had dropped to OR115 and so was dropped into this Class 4 event.  I had taken the early 9/2 and was "sitting pretty" when the race started and the odds on PERCY STREET were 3/1. Unfortunately, the reason why he'd dropped to OR115 quickly became apparent as the horse looks to have lost interest in the game. 
By now I wasn't too happy, but was still hopeful of turning things around with my 3rd selection of the afternoon, which was again a "place-only" wager.  It was the 3:00pm at Newbury, a 2m7f Class 3 handicap chase with 10 runners, and I did not have a great deal of confidence in the markets leaders - Indy Five was having only his 2nd chase race, and Kimberlite Candy was only the fav as he was ridden by Barry Geraghty.  I had previously wagered on TWO SMOKIN BARRELS when he'd run 2nd at Lingfield over this trip in November, so I knew he stayed the trip if he was a bit one-paced.  I thought he was unlucky to fall at the 1st-fence when he last ran on Boxing Day so I thought he had an excellent chance of making the 1st-4 as (again) this race appeared to lack depth.  As the race turned-out, both the market leaders departed early-on, and my selection was going particularly well as they entered the final mile of the race.  TWO SMOKIN BARRELS actually led jumping the 2nd-last fence, but his lack of pace showed again, and he was unable to stay with the leading pair who went on to dispute the finish - but he did plug on to be 3rd, and saved my day.
It's a tricky day today, and of the meetings I prefer the racing at Ludlow to Wincanton.  It is interesting that Jonjo O'Neill puts his talented son, the 7lb claimer Jonjo O'Neill, on CHAMPAGNE AT TARA in the 3-mile handicap chase at 2:00pm.  I tipped this horse when he ran at the Cheltenham Festival last March over 2-mile, and he has a touch of class.  Whether he will stay this 3-mile trip is debateable but, if he does, he could go well. The obvious wager in this race is confirmed stayer and mud lover, Sego Success.  The Hunter-Chase at 3:10pm on the same card is between Mendip Express, who is a horse I've followed for the past couple of seasons, and Virak having his hunter-chase debut. If Virak is anywhere near his old form then he will surely win this race. However, the race for my "place-only" wager is the 3-mile handicap hurdle at 3:45pm and the horse that catches my eye is VINEGAR HILL. He is the only runner here from trainer Stuart Edmunds who doesn't send many to Ludlow.  He's won a couple of 3-mile hurdle races and has recently been chasing, but was pulled-up LTO (in the race in which Two Smokin Barrels fell at the 1st fence) after making a bad error.  At first I thought this was just a confidence building race but, at the ratings, I think the horse has a serious chance. He's currently at 3.80 (or 11/4) to be in the 1st-3 or, if you are feeling a little more risk averse, he's 2.60 (or 6/4) to be in the 1st-4.  I've taken the 3.80 to be in the 1st-3.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Another 2 winners & a cracking day for the blog

For regular readers of the blog, Saturday was another cracking day with 4 races reviewed finding 2 winners in BIG JIM (advised at 11/2, won with an SP of 5/2) and WESTEND STORY (advised at 11/4, won with an SP of 2/1).  Add to that the pointer about champion jockey Richard Johnson going to ride at Wetherby and was sure to be on a winner or two, and the great man ws in top-form there riding 4 winners from 6 rides at odds of 5/2, 4/1, 2/1 and 11/4 with his losing rides having SP's of 14/1 (horse had no chance) and 11/8 which came in 2nd beaten just a length.  A £1 win "Canadian" (5 selections in doubles, trebles, and accumulators) on the 5 horses with early-morning odds under 10/1 would have returned £496.75 for a £26 outlay, and that is at returned starting prices.

I had some good feedback on twitter, including one generous gesture from a winning reader of the blog who donated £50 to the Retired Greyhound Trust of £50 on my behalf. Remember, the blog is free-to-all, in the past I've only charged a nominal sum for sending the blog out early by email (before it goes online) but this season, as I'm taking more of a "back-seat", I have put that service on hold for the time being until my circumstances change.  The donate button is still "live" and if you want to make  contribution by way of a "thanks for the advice", please do - or if you would rather make a donation to a registered charity on my behalf from your winnings please contact me via twitter and I will recommend a suitable charity.

Regular readers of the blog will know that I have a share in a syndicate managed by Nick Bradley, and another of his syndicates had a tremendous result on Sunday when Doctor Phoenix won the Grade A Dan Moore Memorial (handicap) Chase at Fairyhouse worth 59,000 Euros to the winner!  Nick Bradley picked up this horse at the sales at the end of the 2016-17 jumps season for just £10,000 and sent the horse to Gordon Elliot and the horse has now won 2 of his 4 starts since joining him.  I have to admit, I thought the horse did not have much improvement in him but Gordon Elliot has proved me wrong and he's found at least 10lb and there may be a bit more to come. Soft ground, an extended 2-mile trip, and a strong pace to chase are what suits Doctor Phoenix best and connections have entered the horse for the Champion Chase at Cheltenham where I expect they will looking for some place money to pay for the drinks bill!

There are just 2 meetings today at Ayr and Plumpton, and with the ground likely to be very soft or heavy at both meetings due to the atrocious weather blitzing the country today, I can't advise a wager (I don't like Mondays, anyway) and if you are having a wager, I'd suggest keeping stakes small. 

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Another good winner for the blog

What a cracking start to 2018 - just 2 blogs written this week on Thursday (my first of the year) and Friday, and both found a winner with my main recommended wager. After DRESDEN won Thursday at and SP of 5/2, yesterday I tipped FLY HOME HARRY who won at an SP of 7/1.  When I post a blog in the week I will post a link to it on twitter.
You probably know my twitter handle @wayward_lad and I suggest that you follow me on twitter if you don't want to miss a blog.

There is some good racing today with meetings at Warwick, Wetherby and Kempton with the Betfred Classic handicap chase at Warwick at 3:35pm being the highlight of the day, and Missed Approach who I tipped for glory in the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury (probably just lacked a bit of fitness that day) can find compensation in this. He's been dropped 6lb in the handicap which is a bonus, and the soft ground should not be a problem as he's won over 3-mile on heavy ground. Goodtoknow ran 2nd in this race last year when beaten by subsequent Grand National winner One For Arthur, but he came into that race in better form than he's shown this year. The horse I fear most is course winner Krackatoa King who stays this trip well and come into the race in top form. His riders 5lb allowance could make all the difference as he will be carrying 17lb less than Missed Approach.  Unfortunately, the best odds available this morning is 5/1 (there was plenty of 7/1 last night) and so the best of the value has gone. That Richard Johnson has opted not to ride (and his book of rides at Wetherby isn't great) suggests there is a doubt over whether he will stay this trip carry top-weight of 11st 12lb.  It's one of these "win or bust" wagers, don't bother with eachway on Missed Approach

 Earlier on the card, the 2-mile Class 3 handicap chase at 1:15pm looks an interesting betting race as the fav Swift Crusader didn't stay 2m4f LTO and it's hoped this return to 2-mile will see a return to form.  I'm not so sure, and as I think Azzuri has "topped-out" at OR129 it may pay to look at the 9yo BIG JIM who has missed most of last season (only ran once) and ran ok on his seasonal debut in November. He should improve on that today and if he can recapture the form of his last win in April 2016 then off OR120 he could be hard to beat.  Odds of 11/2 are available and that looks value to me for a horse that won this race in 2016.

The 3-mile Class 2 handicap hurdle at 2:25pm is the sort of race I like - competitive, and yet over a trip that will sort out the proper stayers from the also-rans. Top-weight Prime Venture could be very good or his 12lb uplift inthe handicap for his LTO win could be a bit much. The fav is the 6yo Black Ivory but he didn't win on his only try at this trip and yet races off a mark 10lb higher than he did on that day - I think he can be opposed. The horse I like in this race is THE ORGANIST who is a proven stayer, comes here in form and has no problem with the ground - odds of 7/1 look a fair to me.  Given the competitive nature of this race, eachway is the way to go.

Wetherby is interesting as champion jockey Richard Johnson rides there. I expect the reason he's at Wetherby is to ride the promising 7yo hurdler Westend Story in the 2:50pm Class 3 handicap hurdle over 2m4f as the form of his race LTO has worked out very well and he could possibly be about 7lb well-in running off an unchanged mark of OR124. As such, odds of 11/4 look good value to me.

What I will be placing wagers on today are:-
Warwick 3:35 - MISSED APPROACH - £10 win @ 5/1
and KRACKATOA KING - £5 eachway @ 9/1
Warwick 1:15 - BIG JIM - £5 win @ 11/2
Warwick 2:25 - THE ORGANIST - £5 eachway @ 7/1
Wetherby 2:50 - WESTEND STORY - £10 win @ 11/4

Friday, 12 January 2018

Back with a bang!

Not a bad start to 2018 as the first blog of the year finds a good winner in Dresden sent off as the 5/2 joint-fav. The horse was never in any danger, especially as the other joint-fav Un Prophete was never travelling and eventually pulled-up.
That's how it goes with horses sometimes, they are not machines, and just like us humans they can have "off" days. That certainly seemed the case with the other horse that I wrote about yesterday, Diamond Rock in the opening race at Leicester.  There was plenty of money for the horse as he started at 2/1, but the horse was never travelling and didn't look like he was enjoying being there - he also eventually pulled-up.
Dresden was also spotted (for pretty much the same reasons as me) by Racing Post correspondent Paul Kealy who is a racing tipster that I respect. He was right on the ball yesterday as he gave 2 selections and both won; his other selection being I Just Know who won the "North Yorkshire National" later on the card at Catterick just as easily as Dresden won his race, at odds of 4/1.  That win demonstrated that there are some form lines from last season that are very strong, and I'm hoping one comes to the fore on Saturday and provides me with a good winner.
Onto today's racing, and Paul Kealy has made 3 selections, but you will have to buy a Racing Post to know what they are.
The two meetings are at Huntingdon and Sedgefield and they are both a bit tricky.  
At Huntingdon, the 3-mile handicap chase at 2:30pm has only 8 runners but most are unlikely (in my opinion) to be involved. Yes, it is a Class 4 race, and when you start looking at races below Class 3 you will encounter unpredictable horses: one race they run well and the next race they can run well below that form for no particular reason.  The fav is Hepijeu but I think this 7yo is just slow and the only way he will win this is if he's the last horse standing. For a 9yo Dylanseoghan hasn't had much racing, and this will be only his 9th race under rules (he did do some racing in point-to-points), so it's possible that there is some improvement to come, but I'm not sure he has the ability to be a player here.   I reckon this race will be between the pair set to carry 12st 2lb: Fly Home Harry and Riverside City.  Fly Home Harry won a 3-mile Class 4 chase at Ludlow in October in what looked a good performance, and then he met the runner-up Running Wolf NTO at Leicester (a race Running Wolf won) but there Fly Home Harry ran without any zest, and was pulled-up. He's been rested since, and if he can repeat the form of that Ludlow win he will go close here - his current odds are 5/1 (BetVictor and Bet365).  Riverside City won the Troytown Handicap as a 6yo in November 2015, however only 5 finished that race and I think he was a fortunate winner. He's not won since then, nor looked capable of winning, so his "support" today is if the 11lb he's been dropped by the handicapper since joining Jonjo O'Neill's stable in the summer PLUS the 7lb claim of his rider, can provide the horse with a sufficient boost to win.  His rider is the son of Jonjo, and what a capable rider this young lad is, and young Jonjo is a chip off the old block - well worth his 7lb claim, I'd look out for whatever he rides these days as he rode an 8/1 winner yesterday.  All things considered though, FLY HOME HARRY is the selection on the balance of probability.
The only other race I'm looking at today is the Class 3 (novice) handicap chase at Huntingdon at 3:30pm and this race looks weak on paper - for that reason only I'm considering EXITAS over this trip which will probably stretch his stamina but he has enough jumping experience to (hopefully) ensure that he's still in the race at the business end.  Bentelimar "flatters to deceive" and I do not think he's a 9/4 chance for this race. Terrefort is a 5yo French import for Nicky Henderson and while I respect the trainer's judgement, I'd rather see the horse jump a fence before having a wager at 7/4 in this race.  Exitas at odds of 15/2 (BetVictor and Bet365) looks a fair value wager for small money.
My main wager is on FLY HOME HARRY and I'm hoping he can follow-up yesterdays win.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

First blog of the year

Since Boxing Day, I have been absent from the blog - nothing sinister, just taking a time-out - and a few regular readers have asked when I will be returning, and here I am. We went close on Boxing Day to finding a winning double from the 4 selections in the "yankee", but close isn't good enough.
The feature race of Boxing Day at Kempton was, in my opinion, a bit disappointing. Yes the race-fav Might Bite won, but he didn't look convincing did he?  The pace set in the 1st-half of the race really took its toll and it may be that Bristol De Mai - who lost ground rapidly when he was a spent force - may have still been feeling his exertions of his wins earlier in the season.  The first horse to show distress signals was Whisper, the stablemate of Might Bite, and he showed that he's not quite Grade 1 as a chaser at this 3-mile trip.  For me, the fact that Double Shuffle finished so close to the winner really put a downer on the formline.

We have since learned that Thistlecrack has suffered a hairline fracture, and while that isn't "career-ending" it does mean he is out for the rest of the season.  I expect he will be aimed at the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury in the autumn now.

Onto today's racing and there are some interesting races on what could be a dull day.  At Leicester, there is what should be an informative 2-mile novice chase at 12:45pm, and (as I write) I'm glad I took the early 9/2 about Diamond Rock who is to be ridden by Richard Johnson as he's as short as 3/1 with most bookies now.  He was beaten LTO by Vocaliser, but is 3lb better off with that one today - and having Johnson in the saddle must be worth a few pounds too!  However, my biggest wager is on the 2-mile handicap chase at Catterick at 1:30pm and that is on DRESDEN.  This horse may not have won since November 2015, but he was rated OR149 after that win and while he struggled from that lofty rating, he showed earlier this year with a couple of 2nd's off OR141 and OR142 that he still has fire in the belly. His last 7 races have been over 2m4f - 2m5f and he does not realy stay that sort of trip, he is a 2-miler at heart and the return to that trip today and with him racing off a rating of OR132 he should have an excellent chance of winning. The one horse in the race that I fear is Un Prophete sent here by Venetia Williams, but he can make the odd catastrophic jumping error, and so the value for me is in Dresden, who is currently at 11/4 - I would not take less than 9/4.

The "National" Chase handicap later on the card at 2:35pm looks very competitive - I cannot split the race-fave I Just Know, Sun Cloud, Itstimeforapint and Gonalston Cloud. The horse with potential is the 8yo I Just Know but I'm not convinced by his formlines.  The 11yo Sun Cloud has been well prepared for this race running over hurdles and winning his last 2 races in that sphere, he comes here in top form.  Readers of the blog will know I rate Gonalston Cloud as an out-and-out stayer but he does lack a turn of foot.  If he's close-up coming to the final fence he could outstay them all. In 3rd place last year (behind Gonalston Cloud who was 2nd) was Itstimeforapint and he meets that rival on 3lb better terms for a neck beating. If he is in similar form today he will take all the beating. This is possibly a race to play on the place-only markets, or to wager in-running.