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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, 11 September 2021

The 2021-22 Season Jump Season - some horses I'm looking forward to seeing again (7yo's)

The review of the Alert List continues,  and after the 8yo's now it is the 7yo's.  There's a lot of them, so I may split this into two parts.

TEQANY - looked a very interesting hurdler when pushing Sceau  Royal all the way in the Elite Hurdle last November. He hasn't raced again since over hurdles, but has had a successful summer on the flat and so is race-fit for an autumn hurdling campaign. Races today on the flat at Haydock (12Sept)

McFABULOUS - not quite top-level as a 3-mile hurdler, but may well hit that level as a chaser. Looks an exciting novice chase prospect for 2021-22.

IMPERIAL ALCAZAR - started at 11/2 for the 3-mile Pertemps Final Hurdle and was struck-into mid-race so was a disappointing 16th of 22. Ignore that run, as his previous win in Jan suggested he had lots more to come.  Likely to go novice chasing and looks exciting.

ESCARIA TEN - ran 3rd in the NH Chase for Novices behind Galvin, but I reckon with a better ride he'd have won as came to challenge a tad too early. Is Grade 1 chase potential this season. 

UP THE STRAIGHT - he has met a couple of good ones so has come 2nd 3x in 6 chase races. His OR138 rating looks fair and he's probably capable of a lot better than that and may need to step-up to 2m6f.

LOCK'S CORNER - a winner of 4 chase races, his best performance to date was his win at Kempton over 2m4f in Nov-20 and in my opinion he goes best right-handed. A rating of OR142 looks fair.

EMPIRE STEEL - could be anything. Was disappointing at Cheltenham and that run is best ignored, but has a lot of potential, and an OR140 rating looks very fair.

HAPPYGOLUCKY - went into my notebook when winning at Stratford on 29-Oct, the ground was possibly a tad too soft at the Festival when 2nd in the "Ultima", but he won well at Aintree. Now rated OR157, if he can win a handicap from this rating then he's likely graded level, and I think that's where his future lies in 2021-22.

SHAN BLUE - won a couple of Grade-1 novice chases at Sandown and Kempton, and perhaps right-handed courses suit him best. Starts off OR150, and he could be a handicap snip off that mark.

SULLY D'OC AA - it was brave of Anthony Honeyball to go to the Punchestown Festival in April and win with this horse, but the handicapper hit him with a 10lb hike to OR147. Trips of 2m-2m3f look best for him and he could be an exciting horse to follow.

ESPOIR DE ROMAY - he went into my alert list after winning his chase debut on 01Nov, and maybe he should have gone for a good handicap after that as he easily won a Class 3 in March and was going very well at Aintree in a Grade 1 chase when falling. Now rated OR160, handicaps are beyond him but he could be exceptional.

ELDORADO ALLEN - after winning his 1st-2 novice chases, he went on my alert list but hasn't won in 4 runs since. However, he has been highly-tried and maybe Tizzard may not set his heights so high this season, and a step-up to 2m4f+ could see him in the winners enclosure.

SANDYMOUNT ROSE - was entered on my alert list as a 3-mile hurdler in Dec20, after chasing-home Catchmeifyoucan (who won again on 27Nov), and she duly won her next couple of 3-mile hurdle races. She has since won her chase debut, and she could be a money-spinner.

ESPOIR DE GUYE - When the mud is flying, Venetia Williams horses are in their element, and  I will be hoping the ground is worse than soft when this one is running. A couple of wins at Ascot, he will enjoy the right-handed London circuits.

DEMACHINE - could be a very interesting handicap horse as lightly-raced and his novice season was very promising. No disgrace being beaten by Remastered at level-weights in Feb, and we've not seen him since; so OR142 could be very lenient. 

Overall, there are 46 x 7yo's on my alert list, and I am very hopeful of a great season for the blog.  I will not post the names of any more - as I have to have some edge over other tipsters and the betting market - so you will find out who are the remainder as-and-when they run.  So you will have to read the blog!

All the best. 

Sunday, 8 August 2021

The 2021-22 Jumps season - some horses I'm looking forward to seeing again (8yo's)

The 2020-21 jumps season was a bit of a strange one due to the lack of crowds (due to Covid) and too many horses being kept at home in the stables rather than racing at the tracks. During the season, I tried making a few suggested wagers, but I never rely got into the groove.  However, I did manage and maintain my horse alert list and I've started going through that list and pruning it and adding some extra notes.  I'm going to post a few of those notes on a band of horses that I think will do some good things this coming season: it isn't a "horses to follow" list, more a "don't overlook if running" list. 

As usual, I will be writing my weekend blog, which will start from 9th October with the jumps meeting at Chepstow. The is likely to be a review of the weekends racing, and from Sunday 5th December there will be suggestions for a portfolio of wagers for the Cheltenham Festival in March 2022.  The Cheltenham Portfolio has worked well over the past couple of seasons and hopefully that will continue.

There are no horses older than 8yo on my alert list: by the time they become 9yo they are usually well-exposed and unlikely to find much more improvement. My "bread & butter" is 3-mile-plus handicap chases, and I'm looking for horses that have improvement in them and are well-handicapped. These are the only 8yo's on my alert list.

CANELO: won the Rowland Meyrick at Warwick on Boxing Day, and held his form well. Forget his Grand National effort: 3-mile-plus on Good-to-Soft ground is what he needs, and he ran a career-best on 06Mar21.

DISCORAMA: was 3rd in the 2020 Ultima handicap chase off OR148, he was then aimed at the Grand National. He is now rated OR146 and that looks fair: he's one for an autumn handicap up to 3m4f.

JERSEY BEAN: a hurdle winner over 3-mile (which is always a good indicator), he jumps well, stays well and like to make-all.  He's best on good ground - avoid when racing on soft ground.

MANOFTHEMOUNTAIN: a winner of 5 of his 9 chase starts at trips from 2m4f to 3-mile. Ran a career-best LTO and starts 2021-22 on OR144 and that may not stop him winning again.

MILAN NATIVE: winner of the 2020 Kim Muir handicap, after winning his 2020-21 seasonal debut he went a bit off-the-boil.  He no looks well handicapped to win his seasonal debut.

MILLINER: good 3-mile hurdlers are as rare as hen's teeth: and this one looks well-handicapped as he's dropped to OR123 (from OR126) after a good 4th in the Pertemps Final over 3-mile which was only his 6th race.  If he goes chasing he could be very interesting.

NO GETAWAY: a half-brother to Grand National winner One For Arthur, he will probably be best at 3-mile-plus.  So far he's been kept to 2m4f, but he won well at that trip at Sandown.  He is slow, so soft/heavy ground is needed.

REAL STEEL: ignore his Gold Cup run in 2020, as he's no 3-mile-plus chaser. Over 2m4f - 2m6f he could be well-in as (after an indifferent debut season with Paul Nicholls) he's dropped to OR154 which could make him a "Paddy Power" handicap chance.

REMASTERED: displayed his chasing promise when winning a Grade-2 in February; he was found lacking in the NH Chase over 3m6f, but maybe the ground was too quick for him.  Best on soft/heavy ground, a wet autumn could see him line-up at Newbury for the Ladbroke Trophy off OR146.

SENIOR CITIZEN: starts 2021-22 on OR134 which was his last winning mark. Appears best after a good break over 2m4f-2m5f; he met a well-handicapped horse in the Topham Handicap at Aintree and looks well-handicapped.

TIME TO GET UP: he looks very exciting. Only had 4 chase races, and won the Midlands National over 4m2f on his latest run. Still only on OR144, and he could be a Welsh National winner, before taking the big one at Aintree.

VINNDICATION: let's be honest, he's not a Grade-1 chase, but when chasing home Cyrname at Wetherby he showed that he's not far off. Was joint-fav for the Ladbroke Trophy on the back of that run, and he would have gone close but for unseating his rider 5-out when going well. He looks primed for that race again - maybe going straight there this time - and off OR159 he could go close.

Friday, 9 April 2021

The 2021 Grand National - final thoughts

The Grand National.
A race with a history entwined in not just horseracing, but the nation.
This blog is to try and find the winner from the final 40 horses declared to run on Saturday.
When I looked at this race last week, I arrived at the following selections based on what horses were expected to run.
The Storyteller:  22/1 generally 5-places 5th-odds (William Hill)
Acapella Bourgeois:  33/1 qtr-odds 5-places generally
Anibale Fly:  33/1 qtr-odds 5-places generally
Takingrisks:  40/1 qtr-odds 5-places generally
Lord Du Mesnil:  33/1 qtr-odds 5-places generally
The Storyteller was withdrawn at the 48hr declaration stage, so my £3 ew stake was refunded.
I have £3 ew on the remaining 4 selections.

Most bookmakers will be offering 6-places to 5th odds a place.
Bet365 have a great offer to existing clients in offering a 50% immediate cash-back on ew wagers up to a maximum of £125, but they are only paying 5th odds on the 1st-5.
I'm looking for potential 1st-6 finishers.
Top-weight with 11st 10lb will be Bristol De Mai: He will have no problems with the ground (good-to-soft) and being a prominent runner he should go well.  I just worry about the weight and the trip. Since the distance was revised, there have been 7 GN's and 11 horses carrying 11st or more have finished in the 1st-6 (most bookmakers will be paying on the 1st-6 places) from the 42 places available, which is 15.2%. The number of horses in those 7 years carrying 11st or more is 77, or 28% of the total runners (which was 276): so horses with 11st+ are good to go. However, only 3 of those 11 carried more than 11st 5lb. If you combine that with the fact that in the 3 longest races he's run in he's not seen out the trip, he might struggle over the final half-mile.
Chris's Dream is on a tough handicap mark of OR164, and while he's won over 3-miles I think that's his limit, and the jockey doesn't inspire confidence.
Yala Enki needs soft ground and while he will stay all day long, he's a bit of a plodder, but he could make the 1st-6 finishers, and Bryony Frost gets the best out of him, at 33/1 he's interesting.
This will be the 2nd GN for Ballyoptic, and I can't see him winning, or finishing, as he appears to have lost his sparkle this season.
Ditto Definitly Red: he's not the horse he once was, he's unlikely to finish.  
The same for Lakeview Lad, his career is going backwards, and is unlikely to be in the places. 

That's everything with more than 11st to carry, and the only one likely to be in the 1st-6 is the 33/1 chance Yala Enki . Of those with under 11st to carry:-
Burrows Saint (10st 13lb) won the Irish GN in Apr19, and has been aimed at this race all season. He ran a good prep race LTO, and the ground & trip will suit him. He'll go close, and he's 8/1.
Magic Of Light was 2nd to Tiger Roll in 2019, and she could well run another good race, but she's been campaigned much differently this time, and I feel she's had her chance.
Acapella Bourgeois is a prominent runner who will be "in the van" throughout, he comes here in good form and has a fair weight (10st 12lb) and he's interesting, latest odds 20/1.
I don't think Talkischeap is good enough, he's certainly not OR155 level. 
Tout Est Permis was one of my Cheltenham Antepost's that didn't run and he then went and fell LTO (blood found in nose post-race), he's not one I'm confident over.
Another aimed at this race is Anibale Fly: twice placed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and twice placed in the GN, he looks "chucked-in" off OR155 with 10st 12lb. He looks a place certainty, and odds of 25/1 look attractive.
Mister Malarky is a right-hand track specialist, and I think he'll not enjoy this race; he's the sort who cold be in the 1st-3 or pull-up after 3 fences, and I'm more inclined to the latter.
Kimberlite Candy handles this course well having come 2nd twice in the December "Becher" Chase over 3m2f. He runs best off a long break and he's sure to go well, he's 10/1.
Any Second Now is one that's been aimed at this race, and as a "Kim Muir" winner over 3m2f he should be capable of being involved, but he's looked one-paced in other races of 3-mile or more. 
Balko Des Flos hasn't won a race since March 2018, he's been highly tried though and will stay this trip, so he may well complete, but in his own time. 
Alpha Des Obeaux is another who has seen better days, and I doubt he will complete.
One horse I've never rated is Ok Corral and while he's won at 3-miles, I really can't see him winning this as he finished lame LTO.
He may be a 12yo, but Takingrisks is in top form this season, and he's won a Scottish GN, so the ground and trip hold no worries. He won competitive handicap LTO and I'm happy I took 40/1 on him as he's now 25/1 and that looks decent still, as he should be in the 1st-6. 
I was surprised to see Shattered Love declared for this race, as this mare isn't good enough. 
Jett is another who may struggle in this race, and is not likely to complete. 
When I saw the weights published for this year, the first horse on my list was Lord Du Mesnil, and he duly went and won the GN Trial at Haydock over 3m4f on 20Feb. His 2nd in the NH Chase over 3m6f at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival showed that he stays the trip at top-level, and while he would prefer softer ground, he's going to take some beating: he's 33/1.
The December 2019 Welsh National winner Potters Corner loves these marathon races, and he's not very many miles on his clock for an 11yo. He'd probably prefer soft ground on the day, and he's not going to be far away if he completes, but that's debatable.
Class Conti is on a tough handicap mark considering his last win was as a novice chaser over 2m5f. However, he should stay this trip but at his own pace, and may make the 1st-6.
Milan Native, who I had a wager on when disappointing LTO, should be capable of going well; but I'm not a fan of winners of the "Kim Muir" chase in this race.  In his favour he has the top amateur rider Mr JJ Codd in the saddle, and he will make sure this horse gets the best of the opportunity: at 33/1 he looks interesting.
There's been a lot of money for Discorama and he was the 2nd horse on my list (there were only 2) when the weights came out: I wish I had followed my instinct as both Lord Du Mesnil and Discorama were 40/1 at the time. Discorama has only won once by he's run some great races in defeat, I just feel OR149 is a bit high for him to be able to win this race, but he looks a good place chance at 14/1. 
Vieux Lion Rouge has had his chance, he loves this course but he doesn't stay the 4m2f trip.
Cloth Cap is the 9/2 fav, and looks chucked-in off OR148 considering his win LTO which suggests he's 10-14lb well-in.  But remember, he could only come 3rd behind Takingrisks in the Scottish GN off OR134, and he only meets that rival on 1lb better terms now when you compare the form via Aye Right who has been 2nd to both of them this season. 
I was surprised to see Cabaret Queen in this race, as I'm not confident of her staying the trip. 
Minellacelebration has run once over these fences and didn't shine. 
Canelo is an interesting horse, he may have been flattered to win the Rowland Meyrick handicap on Boxing Day as his OR147 rating is tough, but he's only an 8yo. He carries just 10st 4lb, and if he enjoys this race he could go well, there are much worse 40/1 chances.
The Long Mile ran well LTO which was the longest trip he's raced over, but whether he can step-up to this distance considering he's raced mainly over 2m4f is debatable.
The 11yo Give Me A Copper has had lots of problems so this will only be his 10th chase race. Winning this would be a miracle.
Farclas is another of my recent Cheltenham Festival anteposts, and he went close in the 2m4f handicap there.  Being a 7yo, history is against him as there hasn't been a 7yo winner since 1940, but I think he's a touch of class about him. 
Minella Times. There's nothing much between him and Farclas as they've met a couple of times this season; but whereas I feel Farclas has potential to stay 4m2f, I can't say the same about Minella Times, but you never know.  Odds of 9/1 are tight. 
Sub Lieutenant will be ridden by Tabitha Worsley who won the Foxhunters Chase over these fences in 2019. He's won over 3m1f but I feel this 12yo will struggle to complete
Hogan's Height qualified to run in this when winning the Grand Sefton Chase over these fences in Dec19, but his recent form is poor, and he will be lucky to complete.
Double Shuffle was a top-class chaser, but it's a long time since he was rated 160+ and he pulled up in the GN of 2017 when he was a much better horse than he is now.
Ami Desbois is interesting; this 11yo does stay well, and jumps well, and while he may not win he could be in the 1st-6: odds of 100/1 are attractive.
Blaklion was going well in this to be 4th in 2017, but he's been a shadow of himself in 3 runs this season (after 18 months off the track), unlikely to complete.

From the above, with the fav CLOTH CAP looking a sure-thing, we should concentrate on finding value in the places, and those worth considering are:-
Yala Enki  @ 33/1 - given number of contenders, he's too slow
Burrows Saint @ 8/1 too short in the betting
Acapella Bourgeois @ 20/1 - already on at 33/1 for £3 ew
Anibale Fly @ 25/1 - already on at 33/1 for £3 ew 
Kimberlite Candy @ 10/1 too short in the betting
Takingrisks @ 25/1 - already on at 40/1 for £3 ew 
Lord Du Mesnil @ 33/1 - already on at 33/1 for £3 ew
Milan Native @ 33/1 with Skybet 6-places 5th odds a place
Discorama @ 14/1 too short in the betting
Ami Desbois @ 100/1 with Skybet 6-places 5th odds a place

To my 4 existing £3 ew wagers, I'm adding MILAN NATIVE @ 33/1 and AMI DESBOIS @ 100/1
Making a total of 6 wagers @ £3 eachway = Total staked = £36

Aintree 2021 - Friday 9th April

After starting the day full of enthusiasm, I was quickly brought down to earth and (thankfully) didn't bet as strongly as I was going to.  
In the opening race, Protektorat was back to the form he showed last November, which is good but not "proper" Grade 1 winning form. If the handicapper is tough on him then he is going to find life extremely difficult next season. Not so The Shunter, who seemed to hit everything and still stayed in with a chance at the final fence; he could still be well-handicapped based on this run. As for Hitman, thankfully he's only a 5yo and has time to improve.  In the Juvenile Hurdle, we saw that Adagio has still not learned how to jump a hurdle but, even so, he came to the final flight looking to be going the best - before demolishing it! That was his chance gone, and Monmiral ran-on a fair winner, and on this form would have gone close in the Triumph Hurdle had he taken part.
As expected, the Betway Bowl Chase (Grade 1) did not take much winning. Only 5 finished the race, and three of those (Native River, Tiger Roll, and Aso) were well outclassed. It would not surprise me to see Native River retired now, he just does not have the pace for these "proper" Grade 1 races. The obvious disappointment was Mister Fisher, who appeared to be going very well till a bad mistake at the 11th fence, that rattled him.  He hadn't settled by the next, blundered through it, and lost his rider - game over. He's going to be hard to place now as he's obviously not Grade 1 standard, but is rated OR162. He could be hurdling next season like his stablemate, Top Notch.  Briefly, Clondaw Castle looked about to make a race of it, but Clan Des Obeaux showed the gulf between him - a two-time "King George" winner - and a decent handicapper at level weights.  On his day, Clan Des Obeaux is a very smart staying chaser and on this form he'd be well-capable of winning a 3rd King George next Boxing Day - so long as Monkfish, A Plus Tard, Minella Indo, Envoi Allan and Allaho don't make the trip over from Ireland!  Some pundits described this as a "monstrous" performance, but I doubt a repeat in the recent Gold Cup would have put him in the 1st-3.  Clan Des Obeaux is the UK's current best staying chaser but he might struggle to get into the Irish-trained top-10.
The Aintree Hurdle was another poor race for me; but it's difficult to know how Jason The Militant would have done had he not unseated his rider mid-race as until then he was going well. I'm not sure what happened with Song For Someone, he never settled and was pulled-up; but then he's had a long season and perhaps he's jaded and in need of a break. The race was won by Abacadabras who won a "slow-motion" finish beating handicapper Buzz into 2nd. Finally, RP Ratings have agreed with me on assessing a race, as normally they look at a horse like Buveur D'Air in 4th and use that horses rating as the benchmark. By careful placement, Abacadabras won his 2nd senior Grade 1 race here, but grade 1 performance it wasn't.

Friday looks another tricky card, opening with a 22-runner handicap hurdle.  The Grade 1 novices hurdle over an extended 2-miles looks another tricky contest, not least because Nicky Henderson sends Dusart from off a 155-day break. I would be tempted to oppose this 2/1 fav; but what with?   

The 3m1f Grade 1 novices Chase is next, and I'm tempted to go with Fiddlerontheroof who showed he stayed 3-miles in the "Brown Advisory" Chase at the Festival and looks to be one of the better UK-based novice chasers. He's been very consistent through his career, and given his improvement at recent races at 3-mile, his form as a novice hurdler last season around 2-mile is seen in a better light. I don't think he had a tough race at Cheltenham behind Monkfish, and he looks under-rated - but so far, Cheltenham Festival runners haven't done well here at Aintree. 

The Queen Mother Champion Chase was run without defending champion Politologue last month, as blood was seen in his nostrils in the paddock before the race and he was withdrawn. Given he pulverised stablemate Greaneteen in the Tingle Creek in December, and Greaneteen was only btn 2-lengths in the QMCC, you have to think that Politologue is just about the best 2-mile chaser in training at the moment.  The question is the trip: he's won this race before in 2018, and he's won over 2m5f at Ascot, but he's about 7lb better at 2-mile than he is at 2m4f. Remember, he was easily swept aside in this race in 2019 the winner Min. There's another C&D winner in the race and that's Nuts Well: he beat Clondaw Castle over 2m4f here in October, and before that he beat Aye Right over an extended 2-mile at Kelso - and both of those beaten horses have promoted the form since then.  Yes, he's a 10yo and he'd never win a QMCC, but he comes here fresh and capable of running a cracker. The other horse coming here fresh and in form is Dashel Drasher, and he's improved with every run this season and there's no reason why Master Tommytucker who he beat LTO should reverse the placings. The fav is the Irish-trained Fakir D'oudairies who has a rating of OR162, but for the life of me I don't know why! He had a hard race LTO at Cheltenham, and he's never looked much better than a 155-rated 2-miler to me who always seems to find one better in the race - and he was beaten 12-lengths by Notebook last November! The Henry De Bromhead team seem to have gone off the boil with 1 win from 36 runners in the past 14-days, and so I have to pass-over Notebook.  I'm looking at Nuts Well and Dashel Drasher to fight out the finish, with Politologue coming in a gallant 3rd: and as I can't split the pair, I will be putting them in a reverse forecast.  

The Topham Trophy Chase is one to watch, although I may have a small wager on Storm Control who loves to bowl along in front and is a bold jumper of a fence, he may take some catching. 

The Sefton Novices Hurdle (Grade 1) over 3-miles is headed by Bravemansgame trained by Paul Nicholls who has his horses in great form. However, this one was exposed at the Cheltenham Festival over 2m5f and there's nothing in his pedigree to suggest that he's a better horse at 3-mile. As such, I'm going for the Irish raider of Emmet Mullins in Cape Gentleman who has won over 2m4f on heavy ground, and looks under-exposed.  He's a decent price too at 11/2; but this isn't a race to get heavily involved in as there are too many imponderables and unexposed horses trying a new trip.

As I'm giving the 22-runner handicap hurdle the closes the meeting a swerve, I can continue to delve into the Grand National runners and will likely post up my blog on the great race later this evening.

Suggested wagers:
3:25 Marsh Chase
DASHEL DRASHER and NUTS WELL
2 x straight-forecasts: £6 Dashel Drasher to beat Nuts Well  
and £4 Nuts Well to beat Dashel Drasher
Total staked = £10