Welcome to the World of Horseracing

Record of the blog selections

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%.


THIS IS A BOOKIES ADVERT FREE ZONE

There are NO affiliate links on this site to bookies from whom the author receives over 30% of the stakes from your lost wagers.

advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.

Friday, 23 October 2020

Cheltenham 24th October 2020

 It has been a really interesting week, and I'm not just talking about the horseracing.

Those of you who know me will know that I have had involvement with racing syndicates for a number of years, starting off with the White Diamond Syndicate and a couple of their early horses, one of whom took me into the post-race enclosure for the first time at Plumpton - our little mare came 2nd.  Then I was with Middleham Park Racing and a gelding bought at the Horses-in-Training sale called Almuheet. This gelding did everything bar win, and then - when we thought winning wasn't on the cards - up he pops and wins well at 13/2.  It meant that when we sold him we recovered our investment, but I had hoped for a better ending.

Next on the cards was Cribbs Causeway who was introduced to me by Nick Bradley. and this filly took me to the very heights of racing, winning 5 times.  I endeavoured to replace her with another filly, Great Dame, again provided by Nick Bradley, and she managed a couple of wins including  the "Lily Agnes" Stakes at the Chester May meeting - what a day that was!  I've struggled to find a replacement for Great Dame as - living in Brighton - I do like to be able to include stable visits and take part in life outside the racecourse, and Great Dame was trained in Yorkshire. 

As such, last year I approached local National Hunt trainer Nick Gifford who trains on the South Downs at nearby Findon.  He didn't have a space on the Racing Club (20 members only) at the time, but offered me a share - the last one - in a mare he had that was just about to run in her debut bumper at Warwick, Rose Of Aghaboe.  I wasn't too sure, as the cost of the 5% share was more than I was expecting to make and thought I'd just wait and see how she got on.  Wrong move! She only went and won at 40/1 - that share was well and truly sold before she'd returned to the winners enclosure.  On Monday, Rose Of Aghaboe won again, only this time it was in the Josh Gifford Memorial Trophy race at Plumpton. In the past 12 months, she's strengthened-up and looks every inch a mare going places as she should with her dam being a half-sister to the Sussex National winner and winner of the Haydock Grand National Trial in 2013, Well Refreshed. And that came at the end of a fantastic few weeks for Nick Gifford, which started when Jungle Prose won at Warwick on 22nd September for the Nick Gifford Racing Club, which I was invited to join from 1st February this year.  Jungle Prose has run again since, over hurdles at Exeter, showing great promise; and our other "club" horse Mystic Dreamer ran well despite not enjoying the ground at Lingfield on Thursday.  Fingers crossed for their future.  Trainers like Nick Gifford are the life-blood of the industry, and if you can support them, please do. There is nothing quite like going racing, and the camaraderie on-course between owners is unbeatable - there's no such thing as a loser!

I've also been involved in a bit of pinhooking, but more of that on another blog in the future.

Cheltenham on Saturday see's racing return to the epicentre of National Hunt. It's early days to be having a "proper" punt on the horses over jumps, but it's always worth keeping your eye in. My bread & butter is staying chases, and the 3m1f chase handicap at 3:50pm looks a cracker. Old favourite Frodon, still only 8yo, heads the field with 11st 12lb giving away 17lb the the next horse in the handicap, West Approach who was 2nd in this race last year.  If West Approach could not win this off OR140 then I can't see him doing so off OR147.  As for Frodon, I'm sure he will have his supporters, but he earned his OR164 rating racing over 2m5f and not 3m1f.   Cogry, who was 3rd last year, also returns on a higher rating and I can't see the 11yo winning this.  Bob Mahler pulled-up in this race last year, and he may again need the run, and I think his target this season is the Grand National, he looks perfect for it.  Manofthemountain went into a lot of notebooks when he won LTO at Bangor, but the close 2nd and 3rd have both let that form down since, and for me there is a questionmark as to whether he was due another hike in the handicap to OR137. On Wednesday, I went through the form and came up with just the one horse who ticked all the boxes. He was 16/1 at the time, and I advised my close friends to take advantage of a chaser who has won at Cheltenham over 3m2f, has never fallen in 26 chase races, and while slipping from a rating of OR153 to OR140 he's still only 8yo.  COBRA DE MAI was 6th behind The Conditional in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Festival last March. In his 26 chase races, he's run over 3-mile (or further) just 7 times, and when rated below OR145 he's always been on the premises if not winning. He wsa given a pipe-opener at Fontwell over 2m5f and I think Dan Skelton has had this race in mind since March. He is the preferred ride of Harry Skelton, with Bridget Andrews taking the ride on Captain Chaos - who Harry Skelton rode last year!

I'm glad I took the 16/1 earlier this week on COBRA DE MAI, but I may have a forecast on the Skelton pair to finish 1st and 2nd as well.  Good luck.  

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Chepstow 10th October 2020

What a cracking day ahead of us - not only good racing, but good weather.

We came close to taking the Arc de Triomphe with selection IN SWOOP last Sunday, and the colt came with a rattling run in the final quarter-mile.  Let's see if we can keep the ball rolling today.  However, if any readers of the blog are switched-on to dealing with the internet, there seems to be an issue with this blog in that I've had nearly 3000 hits on the last couple of blogs, and normally there's about 200-300.  There must be a search-engine (or something similar) which is bombarding this blog with hits - why?

Back to today's horseracing - and those on my select "inner-circle" were advised to take the 14/1 available earlier this week on GREAT WHITE SHARK who is now the fav for the Cesarewitch being run at Newmarket at 3:35pm. Fingers crossed for this one, but he looks a better horse than he was when running in the race last season (lost his jockey on the way to the start that day, and ran no sort of race), and he's down 3lb in the Official Handicap.  Must have a great chance.

My focus will be on Chepstow, unofficially the "start" of the jumps season proper.  I've had some good success at this meeting in the past (notably in 2015), and there's a couple of races of interest.  Being a member of the Nick Gifford Racing Club, I will be shouting support for Didtheyleaveyououto (DTLYO2) in the 2-mile handicap hurdle run at 14:12. There has been sustained support in the betting for this one, as Nick Gifford has his horses running well, and DTLYO2 has his perfect conditions today: he doesn't really have the stamina for 2m4f, and "good" ground brings out the best in him, and he's slipped to OR130.  

My main selection of the afternoon is in the 2m 7f & 131yds handicap chase at 2:47pm at Chepstow, and it's BOLDMERE. He's won both his completed starts over fences (just the 4 runs) and he should have won his last start as he had the race at his mercy when falling at the final fence.  I'm sure trainer Caroline Bailey will have him fit to win this (if he's good enough). I don't think the fav Secret Investor has shown himself to be good enough to justify his OR153 rating, and there's no value in his odds at all.    Potterman won LTO and has had 3 races since the resumption of racing, so he's race-fit but (again) I don't think he's good enough for his OR142 rating.   This 3-mile trip is an issue for Seddon, the risk is will he stay? No such issue about last years winner Ballyoptic, but does he retain his ability?  He will qualify for veterans races from 1st January, and while he ran a career-best LTO when winning at Ascot (almost certainly would have gone close in the Grand National), he's now rated 11lb higher than when he won this 12 months ago, and for me that is too big an ask for a horse who will probably be aimed at the Grand National this season. Nicky Henderson's horses can never be ignored, and Brave Eagle has won 4 of his 7 chase races too! But his inflated rating was b rutally exposed when well beaten in his last couple of top handicaps, and yes he was 3rd in this race in 2018 but that was off OR145 and he races off OR156 today.  He could well go close today, but if he does he will likely be rated 160+ and I can't see him as that level of horse.

Odds of 9/2 about BOLDMERE are very decent, as I think he'd be the 5/2 fav if Secret Investor wasn't in the race, and I think he should be the 3/1 fav for this.

In the 2m 3f & 98yds handicap chase at 4:32pm, I may well have a small wager on Spiritofthegames if he drifts in the betting to something like 9/2. This looks a tough race, but Spiritofthegames was left at the start at Cheltenham, and finished really strongly.  He was my selection that day, and I was hoping to recoup losses when he next ran - but then all racing was suspended!  If he runs to that form today, then he will be tough to beat.

My wager today is:  Chepstow 2:47pm BOLDMERE, £10 win @ 9/2 (Bet Victor)

and a £5 eachway double with BOLDMERE combined with DIDTHEYLEAVEYOUOUTO in the Chepstow 2:12 @ 5/1 (Bet Victor)




Saturday, 3 October 2020

Prix De L'Arc De Triomphe - 4th October 2020

 This is a big weekend for horseracing.

The late news on Saturday that both of the O'Brien runners - MOGUL and SERPENTINE - had been withdrawn due to contaminated feed, dominated the the market. Personally, I don't think either of them was capable of winning today, but one (or both) could have been in the 1st-3 home.  The withdrawals  has certainly made the chance of ENABLE (attempting to win the race for the 3rd time) a fair bit easier, but the heavy ground still is the biggest obstacle. Enable should win, but it's not guaranteed, and I think the value is in the improving 3yo colt IN SWOOP who is unexposed but definitely worthy of his place in this field. 

At Longchamp in France, we have the culmination of the European flat racing season with the Prix De L'Arc De Triomphe run over 12-furlongs - the very best of the European stayers chasing the ultimate prize, with the winner collecting £1,450,000.  

There are 6 Group 1 races on the card:
1:15pm Grand Criterium for 2yo's run over 7-furlongs
1:50pm Prix Marcel Boussac for 2yo fillies run over 1 mile
3:05pm Prix De L'Arc De Triomphe run over 12-furlongs 
3:50pm Prix De L'Opera for fillies and mares run over 10-furlongs
4:25pm Prix De L'Abbeye run over 5-furlongs
4:55pm Prix De La Floret run over 7-furlongs

The feature race of the day has ENABLE attempting to win the race for the 3rd time, having been successful in 2017 and 2018, but coming 2nd last year.  To be fair, the heavy ground will not be in her favour, even though she won this race on soft ground in 2017, as she faltered in the closing stages run on very soft ground last year. As such, I don't expect jockey Dettori to hit the front on her with over 300 yards to run as he has done previously. 
Trainer John Gosden also sends champion "Cup" horse Stradivarius, but I think it is too big an ask to expect him to win this race run over a trip at least half-a-mile short of his preferred distance. 
Sottsass was 3rd in this race last year, and the previous year's race is usually a good guide, but his form this season does not provide confidence of a repeat.
I do not expect any of the other older horses to threaten the Gosden trained pair, so that discounts Japan, Persian King, Sovereign, Deidre, and Royal Julius.
It's the 3yo's who may give the favourite a race. Chachnak has not won beyond 10-furlongs, and he only just scrapped home LTO, so he will be an unlikely challenger. Gold Trip was last seen coming 3rd in the Grand Prix De Paris behind Mogul (1st) and In Swoop (2nd) and he's not bred to win a race like this. The filly Raabihah is bred to win a race like this, but her 2nd LTO did not inspire confidence and she will have to find about 15lb of improvement to win this race.  Derby winner Serpentine possibly needed the run when 4th in the Grand Prix De Paris LTO, and he could be interesting.  However, that trainer Aidan O'Brien also sends the winner of the Grand Prix De Paris Mogul for this race, suggests there's not much between the pair.  My opinion is that Mogul is the best of the O'Brien pair, and he won't be far away at the finish.. 
The final 3yo to consider is IN SWOOP who was having only his 4th race when chasing home Mogul LTO.  I thought he was given lot to do that day, and I'm hoping jockey Ronan Thomas does not have him too far behind with half-a-mile to run.  I will be honest here, I took 50/1 about In Swoop for this race (just a tiny wager, £2.50 ew) before he ran in the Grand Prix De Paris as his breeding suggested he could spring a surprise, and he very nearly did.  After he ran 2nd, I had a proper wager at 33/1.  Unfortunately, having drawn 1 isn't an advantage, as I expect he will likely be at the rear for the early part of the race, and I just hope his jockey tracks the more experienced riders of Dettori (Enable) and Moore (Mogul) and is perfectly placed about 4 or 5 lengths off the leader with half-a-mile to run.

 Of the other races on the card, I would love to see FEV ROVER take the Prix Marcel Boussac, but the fav Pretty Gorgeous looks very strong, although on this heavy ground there could be a few surprise results.  Certainly, Tiger Tanaka who won on heavy ground LTO could be worth an interest at 9/1 in that race. 

And in the Prix De L'Abbeye it is difficult to look beyond last year's winner GLASS SLIPPERS who looks in-form and a better filly than she was going into the race last year.

Let's hope history is made at Longchamp with ENABLE coming home the winner, but Dettori will need all his skill on this ground with his stablemate Stradivarius sure to make it a thorough test of stamina.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

What is the future of horseracing

It’s been a long, hot summer; and a very strange one too. 

The Cheltenham Festival last March feels like it happened in a dream, and it very nearly didn’t come off at all.  I was there for the Gold Cup, and the Ryanair Chase the day before, and (even if I knew then what I know now) I’d go again if I had the chance.

None of us will see many dual Gold Cup winners in our lifetime, and I’m lucky enough to have witnessed 5 now (Arkle, L’Escargot, Best Mate, Kauto Star and Al Boum Photo) over the past 55 years, but I’ve only been in-attendance to witness the feat with my own eyes with Al Boum Photo.

With horseracing closing-down in March after the Cheltenham Festival, we lost the festivals at Aintree and Punchestown and, as such, horses with championship aspirations have missed vital top-class races which are imperative in their education.

Going into the 2020-21 jumps season “proper”, there are a lot of questions to answer, not least how is horseracing going to finance itself with no spectators!  I’ve been saying for as many years as I’ve been writing this blog that horseracing is due a restructuring, and the current crisis is almost certain to accelerate that restructure.

What I’m hoping is that the “powers that be” are recognising this likelihood and are planning for it.

Having attended Warwick races last Tuesday (as an owner) I had 1st-hand experience of the situation on-course, and there was much to like. Given the vast amount of outdoor space available at a racecourse, I really cannot see why limited numbers of spectators can’t be safely accommodated – when I watched the races from the stands there were never more than 5 other people stood with me, and the 500 who attended on the Monday would have been easily accommodated safely. 

The one thing that probably will never return (without a vaccine for Covid) is on-course bookmaking.  As much as I hate to say it, that factor has died.

Right now, if I was in the BHA I would be negotiating with the Hong Kong Jockey Club about using their “tote” software and business model and looking to either purchase (or acquire a significant shareholding) of UK Tote Group Ltd; or set-up their own BHA “tote” as an income-stream for horseracing.

If the BHA are not thinking ahead, then I can see dire consequences coming, and coming fast. Chester racecourse has already declared that without spectators, they are not going to open for business in 2021.  We can expect many more tracks to come to that same conclusion very soon, especially the winter jumping tracks which – let’s be honest – are already operating on a shoe-string budget.  Without tracks you cannot race.  Adding more meetings to courses wont help the matter as the ground (especially in winter) won’t be able to cope.  The last thing we want to see is injuries to horses caused by running them on poor ground due to overuse.

Reduced prize-money is a double-whammy.  Last Tuesday, our club horse Jungle Prose won just £2,274 coming home in 1st in the bumper. After fees and commissions, what is left is barely enough to cover 3-weeks training bills – I sometimes think I’d be better-off owning a greyhound at nearby Hove.

This season, I will be writing my usual weekend blog, and probably a review of the weekends racing on a Monday; with the aim of putting together a portfolio of wagers for the Cheltenham Festival in March 2021.  It seems to have worked well over the past couple of seasons, and I can also hopefully spot the occasional winner on a Saturday afternoon. 

I’m also tinkering with the idea of posting a Saturday “tip-sheet” available by donation-only, and I’m trying to locate a payment portal with a link that I can attach to my twitter feed; any suggestions would be gratefully received (via twitter: @wayward_lad).

There’s a couple of meetings today, but there's nothing much to recommend.